5 Ways To Find Your Tribe

James Hunt by James Hunt Additional Needs

James Hunt

James Hunt

Dad to two amazing boys with autism, award winning blogger, podcast host, sharing stories about our lives

Becoming a special needs parent is life changing in more ways than one. There’s a lot we need to deal with mentally, physically, emotionally, and logistically. It can often leave us feeling like we’re lost and alone.

You spend much more hours at home. Social occasions can sometimes be too difficult for our kids, or maybe just impractical too.

There are few people we trust to be able to look after them, so we can end up not going out and doing things for ourselves either.

Fed up of all the cancelled meet ups, friends who we thought would be there for ever start to drift away.

The ones who do stay around, we sometimes feel like they just don’t get what our lives are really like.

They just don’t understand, or we feel too exhausted to bother trying to explain.

As time passes, we can start to feel even more isolated, even more alone.

Nobody we know is living a life like we are, they just don’t understand what we go through.

Which is why it’s so important to do something about it. To be pro-active, to take the first step and find likeminded people who do get it.

Who can understand, who can give valuable advice, who have been through what we’re going through?

Here’s a few ideas of how to find them:

Start with Facebook

These days we’re lucky that technology can bring us together, no matter where we are in the world.

Being stuck at home, unable to go out doesn’t mean you have to be cut off from others. Search Facebook for online support groups relevant to the world of special needs.

There are 100’s of groups out there that allow people to share their lives and learn from each other.

Be brave, read a few pieces in the group and then ask a question, comment on someone’s post, share a little about your life. In no time at all you’ll find people interacting, offering advice, or just becoming someone to talk to.

Search your local area

You’ll be surprised what you might find. See if there’s a support group that has meet ups. Check with local charities, community centres, ask the professionals who work with your child.

Often there’s something going on nearby we just There’s always lots of parents nearby, it’s just finding a way to meet them.

Take a course

Go on any course that you’re offered by your local health care professionals or social worker. Not only will you get to learn more to help your child, but you’ll also meet other parents who may even live nearby.

Even if just for the duration of the course, it gives you a place to go, meet new people, and maybe share some of what’s on your mind whilst you’re there.

Meet people through your child

See what SEN sessions are available locally for different activities. Trampoline parks, swimming pools, soft play centres, often have a SEN session once a week.

A chance for you and your child to have fun, and again meet other families living similar lives to you.

Check with school

Often if our kids attend a SEN school, they take transport to and from school, meaning we miss out making any connection with the other parents.

So maybe they run coffee mornings, or meet ups to solve this problem. If they don’t, maybe it’s something they should do. Speak to the school, see if they can help you arrange one.

Finding our new tribe can mean we have to be brave, push ourselves outside of our comfort zone.

But we ask our kids to do this every day, so the least we can do is try to do the same.

The hardest part is taking the first step, finding your tribe and being brave enough to open up once you do. We’re never alone, we just don’t always look in the right places.

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