This article was submitted by a Family Support Group attendee.
Having a child changes your life forever but in the case of a child with a disability, the impact is even more significant.
With an official diagnosis of a child’s disability, parents go through mixed emotional reactions such as disbelief and denial, confusion, shock, anxiety, uncertainty, anger, and despair. I was not an exception. When my son was diagnosed with autism at age 3, I got totally lost and experienced a severe grieving period keeping asking myself, “Why me?”
This is why family support is important for parents. Through DDA’s family support group, I was able to connect myself to many other Japanese parents. There may not be anyone else with the same constellation of symptoms as my son but there are other parents facing similar challenges, not only their child’s disability but also a language barrier and cultural differences. Simply knowing “I am not alone” and “I have someone that I can talk to” gave me emotional strength that helped me reduce my stress and improve my self-efficacy.
DDA’s family support groups host informative workshops on a wide variety of topics inviting special guest speakers such as behaviour interventionists, speech therapists, therapeutic recreation specialists, and others to speak on transition planning, sexuality, Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP), wills and trusts, self-care, etc. This is a great opportunity to gain knowledge and meet all the specialists. If you have not had a chance to come to a meeting, you are missing out so much. I hope you join us!