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Terri Norgren
Terri Norgren is the Parent-to-Parent Coordinator for Families Together, Inc. for 4 years. She is also the parent of two children, one in college and the other a teenager. Her daughter Jennifer is 17 years old has multiple disabilities which affect her vision, health and communication. Terri provides technical assistance along with resources regarding emotional support to families that include a son or daughter that have a disability.
Family Living
2006-09-01 15:33:00
Overwhelming disabilities
ANSWER: Challenges, emotions and support are all a part of the experience of acceptance and adjustment to parenting a child with special needs.  As a person weaves the trail throughout their life with the child with special needs, they encounter a variety of situations and opportunities where one may seek the helpful advice and support of another who has been there before… How do we handle this new situation?...Where do we go from here?...Who do we turn to?...What do we do now?...Is there anyone else out there who has been through this?Parenting any child is a challenge.  Exploring the unknown can take time, and the support provided through others who truly know and understand can be valuable to another.  Many parents experiencing the adjustment to a new diagnosis or who are navigating their way through a period of transition can be helped in a unique way by other supporting parents who have already weathered these same life experiences.  When parents share common feelings and experiences, they give each other emotional and informational support.Families Together, Inc. offers to Kansas families a statewide program called Parent-to-Parent.  The Parent-to-Parent program provides one on one support to parents of children with special needs.  Parent-to-Parent matches a volunteer supporting parent of a child with special needs with another parent who also has a child with special needs.  Parent matches are established around similar family and disability issues.Supporting parents are trained volunteers who are personally well-adjusted and have successfully integrated a child who has special needs into their family.  Supporting parents offer encouragement, emotional support and information on any informal and personal basis.  Confidentiality is maintained at all times.  When a call comes in from a parent of a newly diagnosed child, it is answered by the Parent-to-Parent Coordinator who will then gather some basic information to help make an appropriate match for you.  The coordinator will contact your support parents who will make contact with you as soon as possible.  Contact is established only when a parent gives consent to participate.Regardless of a child’s condition, families generally have the same fundamental needs for support.  Sharing similar experiences with others can be very helpful.  There are many other parents out there like you.  If you would like to connect with another parent “who’s been there”, give Families Together, Inc. a call at 945-7747.      
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