Group to support parents of special needs children

A support group for parents of special needs children will meet for the first time Wednesday night, and one Fort Frances parent hopes it will offer the support many families need to overcome obstacles in caring for their children.
The group will meet at 6:30 at St. Jude’s Coffee House (335 Nelson St.)
Joanne Davis, whose daughter has Cerebral Palsy, is organizing the initial meeting to bring parents together and discuss mutual issues.
“This is the first meeting and it’s really casual,” she said. “It gets parents interested in what the needs are.
“Our biggest goal is to hook people up with information sharing and resource sharing, and also for moral support,” she added.
The group will be parent-driven, focusing on issues those involved wish to address. “It’s not a Family and Children’s Services group,” stressed Davis, who works for that organization here.
Davis said there are a number of concerns the support group could address in our community, such as accessibility. “A lot of stores in town have change rooms that aren’t accessible,” she noted. “And that’s just my issue.”
Care-givers, siblings, grandparents, and the general public also are invited to attend tonight’s meeting, which Davis hopes will evolve into a support group similar to one held here years ago.
Davis said it’s important that people come together to share their experiences. “Typically, a lot of parents feel they don’t have a lot of support from other parents,” she remarked.
It’s too soon to tell exactly what shape the group will take, Davis added.
“It’s going to be up to the parents,” she said. “I’m just getting the ball rolling and, hopefully, the parents will decide what the group will be.”