As the parent of both a child with special needs and a typical developing child, one of my biggest worries has always been about how my son will handle his relationship with his sister and wanting to make sure that the experience he has growing up will change him in a positive way. As a parent I know that my journey with my daughter will change, and has already changed me in countless ways and I want to make sure that my son is supported as his journey continues. The very reason I decided to enter graduate school and pursue a family and child studies degree has been this desire to make sure my son is OK. We have been lucky to have the support of friends and family over the last five years, but I have always felt that my son needed more- a group of people who “get it” where he can openly and honestly talk about his feelings, his experiences with his sister and the chance to make real connections with other children his age who are going through the same thing.
So here I am five years later, almost done with my graduate program and interning for an organization who supports my desire and my need to support the siblings in families just like mine. Hand to Hold realizes that the siblings in these families are impacted in numerous ways from different challenging circumstances and has given me the opportunity to begin working to make sure there are support programs and events in place.
One month ago we launched our sibling support program with a Sibling Celebration. Now we are moving forward with our second event this weekend. Hand to Hold offers quarterly discussion series free of charge to the community. This Sunday night we will be hosting a panel based discussion focusing on sibling needs. I am very excited about this event and know that not only will the parents attending walk aways with some great information, but I will walk aways with more peace and answers to questions I have had about my own journey for the last five years.
Stay tuned to a re-cap posting of this wonderful event. It is not to late to RSVP. Visit the Hand to Hold website for more information.