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.
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