Why a Support Group?
Parents with a child with special needs usually have enough on their plate between career, family, and continually advocating for their child's needs to me met at school etc... When time is stretched so thin, why would a parent even consider committing to yet another activity such as a support group?
The parents I have spoken to throughout the years have shared this same sentiment... "We are doing everything we can do with the little time we have." Therefore, a support group is usually out-of-the-questions. Or "We speak to enough parents at our child's school, what do we need a support group for?"
I suggest parents of a child with special needs consider there may be much more to gain from meeting with a group of individuals coping with similar challenges facilitated by a mental health professional. This type of group experience may help parents ameliorate some anxieties, get their struggles and efforts validated, and receive encouragement and feel energized to go out there and continue to get things done! Additionally, there is an added level of safety in a formal support group due to the strict rules of confidentiality. In such a setting parents may feel more able to share deeper issues than they would, let's say, in line to pick up their child at school. This deeper sharing lends itself to more healing and better functioning.
If you are a parent of a child or teen with special needs I would encourage you to use some of your respite hours toward freeing up time for a support group. You may be pleasantly surprised from what you can gain.