I discovered the support group around one year after our son's diagnosis. Our son was diagnosed with quadriplegic cerebral palsy and is unable to sit, crawl, or walk independently. I remember having a difficult time speaking about our son's diagnosis to most people. They often didn't know what to say because they didn't understand. Having nobody to relate to creates a very lonely, isolated feeling. The group has given me a community of people who can provide comfort where others can't. They understand the heartache after a diagnosis and know the daily challenges to provide a normal life for their children. And can I mention how wonderful it feels to vent out a frustration and have someone on the other end of the conversation respond with "Yes! I understand." This feeling is often lost once you have a child with a disability.
The support group meetings, guest speakers, and workshops have been a wonderful emotional and educational tool in order to help me and my family live a better life. Everyone is taught how to raise a child, but nobody is taught how to raise a child with a disability. Suddenly the role of being a parent evolves into being a caretaker as well. I'm also not from the area and so the support group has helped me to understand the services in my county.
My son's disability requires lots of assistive equipment in order to try to teach him how to do all of the physical movements that we take for granted. We have borrowed equipment from other families through our therapy center and it has helped immensely. Raising children is expensive, and when you have to add equipment that costs thousands of dollars it becomes even more challenging. Having the ability to borrow various pieces of equipment has helped us to do more for our son than we would have been able to otherwise.