September 22, 2015 | By: Kelli Zermeno
When the doctor tells you that your child has a disability or special health care need, it is life-altering. What does this mean? What am I supposed to do? What’s going to happen to my child? Is this medicine really going to help? There are about a thousand different questions screaming in your mind and many times it leaves you feeling overwhelmed and helpless. But there is one important decision you need to make right off the bat. You need to make the decision to be your child’s advocate.
An advocate is someone who will fight for your child, stay informed on research, news, therapies, medications, rights and everything pertaining to your child. YOU are your child’s best advocate. I know, it sounds overwhelming. But here’s the thing: you don’t have to do it alone! Whether online or in person, joining a parent group or other organization can be extremely helpful. These groups and organizations are full of amazingly knowledgeable people, people just like you who have experienced may of the same things you have.
It takes time to research and often times these parents are a wealth of knowledge and support. They’ve had years since their child’s diagnosis and their journey has provided extremely valuable life experience. These parents have been through it and are more than happy to pass on their experiences and testimonies to help you along YOUR path. They’ve paved the way. You learn that you are not alone.
This amazing community of people can be a great wealth of knowledge and advice. There are groups out there for just about every disability. And yes, there are even some groups in your area! Go to the Find Parent Groups by County and Find Parent Groups by County to find others.
Reach for a Difference is a great autism parent support group based in Abilene covering many counties. The Parents Helping Parents Support Group of San Angelo is comprised of parents, family members and caregivers. It’s a great place to share, vent, meet others and get information. Your Region 15 Education Service Center is an invaluable tool for helping find state-sponsored programs for your school-aged child. This is just a small sampling of the local groups in your area!