Parents Helping Parents
A monthly support group at the Devereux Community Services office in Phoenixville, PA
On the third Thursday of every month, parents of children
with special needs are invited to come to the Devereux Community Services
office in Phoenixville to take a break from their hectic schedules and
obligations and to engage in meaningful conversation with fellow parents of
children with disabilities. This support
group, Parents Helping Parents, was
made possible by a special grant awarded to Devereux Community Services. All parents of children with special needs
are invited to attend, regardless of their child’s diagnosis or if their child
receives services at Devereux. Parents
of children—from infants to adults—come from local counties to meet fellow
parents, share a meal and swap experiences and advice about their personal
journeys with their children. The
meeting’s agenda is based on the needs and interests of the group, and the
audience has varied from five to 20 participants.
Some meetings host an open forum for the parents to share their concerns and stories.
Other meetings host guest speakers who provide presentations on
important topics to families with individuals with special needs. Recent presentations included topics about
medication management, sibling issues, and information on summer camps. Marilyn
Benoit M.D., Devereux’s Chief Clinical Officer and past President of the
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, was a recent guest
speaker. Parents were thrilled to have
the opportunity to hear her presentation on medications and their possible side
effects and to engage with her on a number of key issues.
A late summer meeting explored the very important issue of
special needs trusts. This is an
important area of discussion, as many families need support and knowledge in
order to plan for their child's financial needs after they have gone.
Amy Kelly is the group coordinator and has spoken often
about how much each month she looks forward to this special two hours with this
wonderful group of parents. “Each family
brings a unique story and special perspective that serves to help other parents
in the group,” she says. Amy is the
Director of Family Supports and Services in the Community Services program and
is a recipient of the prestigious Devereux Weaver Falburg Award. For questions about Parents Helping Parents, please contact Amy at firstname.lastname@example.org or (610) 710-4041.