CHILDREN all need the same basic things. They need love, attention, affection, structure, and a parent who puts them first.
Families with children who have special needs are like all families, in that they benefit from positive community interactions and friendships, but they often face big battles on top of the basic needs their child needs, and hurdles to jump at most turns.
Unfortunately, they might also feel left out of community interactions, or lose friendships, due to a lack of understanding and empathy from those around them.
It’s not uncommon for their children to be lumped into a stereotype or misunderstood – especially in cases of special needs which are less visible.
They might deal with stares, judgements about their child’s behaviour, or questions that make them feel as though they aren’t raising their children properly, when they in fact are going above and beyond for their children.
A group of like-minded parents have started a new support group for parents of children with special needs in Port Stephens, and they are welcoming new families with open arms.
You can find the group on facebook, called ‘Special Needs Support Group, Port Stephens’.
Group member Thea White told News Of The Area that the group is for everyone who is living with someone with additional/special needs.
“Being a special needs parent can be challenging and I often feel isolated – Having a Facebook group helps me feel connected and supported by others who understand,” she said.
The group encourages parents to share ideas and information on a broad range of topics, therapies and disabilities and to discuss strategies, share their triumphs and achievements in a setting where all successes are celebrated.
“Whether you have a diagnosis or are still investigating. We are here to support each other,”Another group member, Melissa Mills, told News Of The Area.
“Unfortunately a lot of people don’t understand the loneliness that a lot of parents with special children go through – It’s hard for us as parents to watch your child struggle every day.”
“I can’t imagine how hard it is for the children trying to figure out the world around them – It breaks my heart,” Melissa said.
If you have a mum-friend or dad-friend who is a parent of a child with special needs, love them, support them, listen to them and be there for them.
By Rachael VAUGHAN