The Epilepsy Foundation of CT runs a parents of children with epilepsy support group. I was thrilled to discover this when I moved here because MA didn’t have one. Unfortunately, it’s not very well attended…in fact, I’ve only made it to one meeting since May because of other obligations or a lack of babysitter. And the people who do attend are friends on Facebook, so we kind of chat all the time anyway. Just this past weekend, some of us were discussing the lack of attendance and how to improve the group.

So naturally, when Sarah Cody, FoxCT reporter and writer of The Hartford Courant’s Mommy Minute column, tweeted out something about an autism support group that focuses on the needs of the parents, I had to click on the link. I thought the story was great and totally relate to the mom who started it. Having a child who has special needs can be very isolating. It’s hard to make friends with people the way all the other parents do, and it’s hard to not feel like all you do is complain. And even though you do need support, many people tend to shy away from “support groups” probably because they conjure up images of sitting in a circle, drinking bad coffee and listening to other people talk or cry.

Carmen Veal’s idea for a support group came out of the phrase “You can’t help your child until you help yourself”. The traditional support group she ran was not working so she partnered with a Life Coach to create a group where parents learn tools to support themselves and recognize the strengths within; skills required for parenting a child, whether she has special needs or not. Members of the group participate in spa days, yoga, even fire walking sessions.

To view a news story about this group, click here. (Feel free to skip past the Katy Perry party)

I admire this mom for being able to pull herself out of depression after her daughter was diagnosed and recognize that care is also required for the caregivers, not just the children. I do wish the group was inclusive of parent of children with many diagnoses, but understand that her world is Autism so that is what it focuses on.

You can bet I’ll be sending this link to our group leader and program manager from the Epilepsy Foundation to see how we can incorporate something like this.

Do any of you belong to this group or will you plan to join? If so, let me know what you think.

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