Parent Support Services
As a parent, it is not easy to suddenly be dependent on the advice of others to raise your child. However, since there are so many treatment options, it can help to have the advice, experience and support of a team that you trust and who will be patient with you as you make decisions for your child. This team can consist of a variety of people: family members, friends, social workers, therapists, teachers, classroom aides and medical specialists.
It can be extremely helpful to speak with a professional to not only discuss your child’s challenges, but also to strategize and ensure that your own needs are being met.
Remember: you are the primary advocate and decision maker.
Parents of children with special needs often feel very isolated and don’t know where to turn. Some parents may find that only other parents who have experienced similar situations with their own child with special needs can relate to their struggles. Below are several resources to help connect parents to parents people:
Jewish Family & Children’s Services (JFCS) works with individuals with special needs and offers a wide range of services including counseling, case management, respite care (through DDD funding), etc. JFCS offers Sibshops, which are programs for siblings of individuals with special needs. Individuals and families do not have to be Jewish to access these resources. The contact phone number is 856-424-1333 or email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Family Support Center of NJ (FSCNJ) offers various resources as a service to families seeking information and referral. Conducts training and info sessions, Sibshops, etc. They collaborate with DDD, SPAN, etc.
NJ Parent Link is a State of NJ page that offers a list of links for State, Federal and community resources.
Mom 2 Mom is a unique organization because by dialing the number, a mother of a child with special needs will call you to answer questions or talk. This kind of direct support from someone that can really relate is extremely beneficial for parents of an individual with special needs that is struggling with a particular situation or decision. They also provide counseling and mental health support for the parents. This is sponsored through Rutgers University.
Parent to Parent is another organization that utilizes parents with children with special needs to assist each other in supportive ways. As trained supporting parents, they offer emotional support and information, and act as a valuable resource to families. They offer assistance in learning the necessary skills to help parents face the challenges of raising their child.
The ARC of New Jersey is the state's largest organization advocating for and serving citizens with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. There are different offices in each county (i.e. Camden, Gloucester, Burlington, etc.).