Do you picture a sad group of people, circled up in uncomfortable chairs in some dark church basement, drinking awful coffee, sharing one sob story after another and leaving more depressed than ever?
Well have I got news for you.
Just like book clubs, supper clubs, mothers of preschoolers clubs, or drivers of Volkswagen Bugs clubs, special needs support groups can be places of encouragement, ideas, refreshment, comfort, and laughter.
I myself have been a part of three support groups at one time or another (including the one Ryan and I currently host monthly at our church) and I've found all of them to be beneficial. At support group meetings, I've...
- learned from parents farther down the path of special needs.
- picked up some great tips for handling certain behaviors.
- discovered some of the best doctors in our town.
- listened to some incredible guest speakers share a wealth of information.
- swapped lots of gluten-free, dairy-free recipes.
- laughed at things our kids do with people who totally get it.
- gotten some amazing book recommendations.
- learned what to ask for in an IEP and what to expect at an ARD meeting.
- discovered some fabulous and fun community services for Lily, like dance and sports.
- even learned how to teach Lily to unwrap presents on her own. (click here to find out how)
If I haven't quite convinced you to give support group meetings a try, here's a great article from Friendship Circle that just might give you that final push.
Yes, special needs may be the common bond that all of us share but that doesn't mean that our meetings have to be mopey, depressing, weepy gatherings.
So let me encourage you to find a support group. You might even find yourself having a little bit of fun. And we could all use a little more of that.
image courtesy of bodyloverevolution.wordpress.com