Building of Zackery’s Social Network
I hope to help you parents with this write up, hoping to give you ideas about what you can do to change a challenging situation for the better.
We all need to find solutions and often need to be creative when it comes to serving our special children. It is hard to find the initiative to change things. But I promise you, that both of you, and maybe even the whole family will benefit from creating a social group around your child.
If your child is high functioning with hobbies, find people who share his hobby wanting to spend time with him/her. Advertise, ask Family Support Institute In New Westminster for help to put a post up, go to your volunteer bureau in your community and see if you find people who are a match to your child’s hobbies.
Any time your time is replaced by other people who provide stimulation is a bonus for you. In addition it is time you do not need to pay from your funding. It is freely given to you as help.With this I mean that people who interact with your child want to help him and you.
We all know that systems are geared to finding solutions for the average situation. Many of our special children do not fit this category. They are outside this average funding pot. Their needs are higher and they are not met. Your needs as a parent are not met either.
For years this meant for me fighting with my government agency about money. It was an exhausting and frightening time of my life, full of anxiety.
Being a single parent with three children, one of them with great behavioral difficulties and high needs, I needed to match my funding to caregiver wages, and pay higher wages. There were many times I could not even leave a caregiver alone with my son, because he sensed a poor match and reacted with agitation.
Stress, exhaustion, anxiety about funding have taken a toll on me and my health. Faith in the universe to create justice kept me going. My faith became stronger in those years.
I knew that I was the one who had to initiate change. And I learned that the universe helps you when you help yourself. You do the first step.
Many of you parents have a formal support group, a Microboard or Society which supports your child. I created a Society. A society allows you to get volunteers from your volunteer bureau in your community. It also allows you to fundraise for financial needs, like for health needs your child has.
Volunteers became very important to me and Zackery. Not having many friends, they stepped in to help. We all together worked at ONE GOAL…..getting Zackery out of his room, his safe spot; making Zackery feel comfortable with people and strangers; accepting group situations; ultimately joining into our social circle and trusting people again. It was the time when Zackery suffered from severe PTSD. All of us, the whole group created a success story for Zackery.
Many times my volunteers came to visit Zackery, to read him a story for example, spending additional time with him. And believe me, Zackery knew intuitively who wanted to be with him or who was paid to do so.
My social network was all about fun and great times. We had monthly parties. Everybody benefitted. I was lucky that many musicians played at my parties…..for free as a service to Zackery.We had a drumming circle, soft and happy piano music, violin concerts, guitar playing and singing to songs . One of our seniors took care of song material. With time my group got big with people joining from all walks of life.
Our parties became a fun time with chatter and laughter and good food.
Food was important. Everybody brought a dish. But YOU NEED TO PROVIDE THE MEAT, the main dish.
Our circle was active and alive for 5 years. It was a big success and I would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody who helped. I also would like to thank the community of Powell River with its great musicians who did not hesitate in stepping up to bring joy to us.
What we taught Zackery was …
—-getting him out of his room and coming closer to the fun and chatter he heard. There is a photo of him in the hallway. A friend managed for the first time to get out of his room. She is reading to him in the hallway, bridging over any anxiety. She actually was getting him into the group for the first time