2018 SUPPORT GROUP –SPECIAL NEEDS UNIT PARENTS
- Published: Tuesday, 27 February 2018 14:30
2018 began on a high note for the special unit with all the 42 reporting back from the two months Christmas Holidays. We have had new admissions for students with disability and we currently have 47 students.The first parents meeting for the year was held on 22ND January 2018.
The day was very enriching with 31 caregivers; 27 women and 4 men turning up for the training. Sister Elizabeth Wambui our school counselor and Teacher Mora, facilitated the training. We have had new parents of the newly enrolled children and therefore the need to initiate them to the Support Group for Care Givers.
The topic for the training was Sharing experiences and Stress management, which is a key issue for many parents in the community. The subtopics were: Definitions, causes of stress, signs and symptom of stress and ways of managing stress. Stress management is an important skill for any parent, but it is especially important for parents of children with learning disabilities and other types of disabilities. This is because most of them are faced with typical parental stress along with the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child.
Rejection from friends and relatives, marriage break ups, financial challenges, loneliness, stigma, discrimination, pushes most of them into stress and depression. The topic of the day aimed at helping the parents find a way of dealing with and managing stress while working towards acceptance of their situation and offering a platform for them to share their experiences.
The methodology of teaching was presentation and group discussions. The parents were taken through the causes of stress and techniques of managing stress. Sister Eliza emphasized on ‘reach out ‘ which is one of the techniques used in stress management. She encouraged the caregivers to reach out through sharing their challenges and concerns with people who have gone through the same experience as they have.
The morning session was spent sharing their holiday experiences and it came out clearly that most of them were undergoing different forms of stress. After the 11:00 o’clock tea and snacks, the team came back for an interactive session with where they were placed into groups to discuss and share their experiences and techniques of managing stress. After the discussions, there were presentations from the different groups. The following emerged to be the most effective ways of dealing with stress.
- Self –Acceptance and situation acceptance
- Creating a network of friends you can share with
- Praying, singing and going to church
- Seeking advice- reaching out to people who can help you
- Staying positive and focusing on the positive
After the sessions, the parents gave feedback of how the support group sessions have been beneficial to them. One of the parents shared had the following to say: “Before I started coming for the sessions, I used to struggle with irritation from small issues and this made me have a bad relationship with my children. I could punish them for small mistakes and this instilled fear into them to an extent they would run away from me and not share any problems they had. I did not realize that I was stressed. After learning on stress management and signs and symptoms of stress, I have realized that I have been undergoing stress.I will use the skills I have learnt to manage stress and mend my relationship with my children.”
Sister Elizabeth who was facilitating the meeting had the following to say. “I thank the director and the sponsors of the group therapy for their moral and financial support to ensure the training is successful and parents are supported physically, mentally, psychologically and spiritually.
“I was impressed with the turn up of the parents which was good especially having four male parents attending. Attitude of the parents was positive and the interactions were very healthy with most parents opening up and sharing their experiences.” Says Teacher Mora.
Thank you Margo for your support helped us provide breakfast, lunch and transport allowance of Kshs 300 for 31 caregivers. We look forward to have more sessions with the care givers and hopefully they will be well equipped to manage all forms of stress.”