Thursday, April 16, 2009

Support Groups For Parents With Children With Disabilities

Last week I attended a support group meeting for parents at my son’s school. The social workers organize a meeting once a month with different topics, sometimes a speaker. Last week’s speaker was the behavior coordinator for the school and since my son has some behaviors I would love to eliminate, I thought maybe she could help.

I don't really attend many of these meetings for a couple of reasons. One, I have a lot of family and friends in the area and feel I get plenty of support from them. So maybe I don't need that additional support from others. Second, I sometimes like to just have that time to myself instead of driving the half hour distance to the school each way...I might prefer to walk through the mall as my therapy for the day.

I will have to say that once I get there I am always glad I went. No matter how much support you get from those who know you well, no one really knows what you deal with on a daily basis than a parent who is going through the same things. There is comfort in knowing someone understands your life...they get it! I can tell you the older my son gets and the more time that passes, I know that for me not many people who know me have any idea what goes on in my life. They just don't get it. The struggles, the illnesses, the endless therapies, and the simple things in life that we would like to do as a family, but can't. It makes me want to cry right now as I type this. Most people just go about their lives and never really understand or give it much thought. Now I would have to say that I would not really know what it was like to go through a life threatening illness either, so I don't really hold it against people that they don't understand my life. From time to time it does really make me angry. Maybe I am just angry at the situation...why didn't I get the perfect family!

Well, at this last meeting another mother was explaining an "eating out at a restaurant situation" and as she finished I laughed a little...because I could relate. It was my life she was also describing, with some slight differences. So here we are two strangers with so much in common. Something no one we know can understand about our struggles and the longing for the situation to end or at least improve.

And so for that day I was glad I went. As for improving my son’s behavior…the speaker was excellent. I hope to get more support from the school with additional guidance on helping with the behavior problems. It will be a long tough road for improvement. Like any child they know how to get their way.

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