By Devora Korolitzky
Being the parent of a child with special needs is not easy. From the endless appointments and the piles of paperwork to the emotional toll it takes on a parent, as well as all the little bumps in between; it can be daunting and lonely and there’s no guide book for how to navigate it all.
For over 10 years, the Friendship Circle has facilitated bi-monthly groups where mothers can meet, learn, network and support each other. However, as the number of families joining the Friendship Circle of Brooklyn continued to grow by leaps and bounds in the past few years, the FC realized the importance of further and more direct support. Partnering together with Stardust of Hamaspik, weekly support groups for mothers began in January this year. Within 36 hours, over 71 mothers (1/3 of the number of families involved) had signed up.
Divided by diagnosis of the child, these focused groups allow the moms to get together to learn from each other, as well as from experts in the special needs world. Parents now know what resources are available to them and what help they can tap into when raising their special child.
In addition to being very informative, the support groups also provide an opportunity for mothers to take a night out and a break from the hard work involved in raising a child with special needs. It’s a chance for the mothers to relax and spend time with other mothers who understand and can relate to each other.
Mothers who have attended these support groups have expressed how much they have enjoyed them, learnt from them and look forward to them every month.
These support groups are invaluable to parents of children with special needs, and can definitely help make the road ahead a little less daunting and lonely. As one mother said: ““Chani, that was SO informative – we need another six sessions with her!! Thank you for making these groups a reality – literally incredible.”
The groups take place at the Friendship Circle space and are facilitated by Mimi Garelik and Mrs. Bronya Schaffer.