Support groups

I haven't had great success yet with the support groups that I've attended for parents of special needs children.

The first was a playgroup style group with a few paid staff. Most of the parents were shy and not keen to chat, although the staff were helpful. Mind you, I was new to it all, and in a lot of shock, so I'm not sure I would have recognised much support even if it was there.

The second was a group organised by the local early intervention centre. There were three other parents involved, and it was a 'you run yourselves' type affair. Most of the time was spent talking about run of the mill stuff like building new houses, buying new cars and where we all purchased our groceries.

I found the attitude of the parents to their children's special needs was almost nearing denial. "Oh, he's improving heaps. He knows all his colours. Everyone's a bit odd anyway. He'll be fine once he gets to school." They didn't appear to be interested in finding out much about their child's problems, or looking for solutions.

The group I've just joined seemed to be a little more promising. It is run by a woman who is both an early childhood teacher and a trained counsellor. But there is only one other parent, and she really likes to talk. She also has a lot of difficulties just getting her life together.

The first meeting felt like me giving support, but not getting much myself. I want to have a good discussion about accepting your child as they are and what that means, but I don't think that's going to happen for a while.

Thankfully I have support from other people. My regular counsellor is a tremendous help, our family give us time and love on the phone plus babysitting, and so many people at our church are truly interested in Bright Eyes and give me time to talk about both the good times and the challenges.