September 22, 2015 | By: Kelli Zermeno
If you don’t have close personal experience with someone who has a disability, it can be extremely difficult to understand the often wild schedules, eating habits, stressors and needs of a child with a disability. Life as a child with a disability can often be lonely and frustrating when you don’t have someone who understands you.
Parent groups are an amazing resource to find people who know what you are going through! Other parents, kids with disabilities and their siblings can provide a network of potential friends for your family. People you can talk to without judgment, people who really “get” you. People who will understand when your child has a meltdown in the middle of the pizza place. I am part of a great support group with a very wide variety of families of kids with disabilities. It is amazing to see all of our kids come together and form sweet, lasting friendships. It makes a huge difference when your child has friends to hang out with, play with and invite to their birthday party.
And what about the parents? The parents in our group form tight bonds. Many of our closest friends and companions are members of the group. We shop together, vacation together, attend social functions and advocate for our children together. So many parents have to put their social life on the back burner and focus on their children’s needs. But what if you could make friends and take care of your kids’ needs at the same time? It’s a total win-win.
SHARE West Texas is a huge network of parents, children with disabilities, siblings and professionals. They are based in Midland-Odessa and serve a large area in the surrounding counties as well. They provide numerous parent groups, respite care (an amazing opportunity to have some “me” time), advocacy, resource lists, parties, sensory friendly events, camps and so much more. There is literally something for everyone at SHARE. The Gathering Place is a great resource in the Alpine area that provides resource information, social groups through Special Olympics and an art studio. They serve multiple counties in the Big Bend/ Davis Mountains area.
Step out and attend a parent group or event. Search Find Services, Groups & Events on the Navigate Life Texas website to find an organization that fits your family’s needs and have fun!