A PEAS Specialized Parent Support Perspective
by Howard Termo, EIS, Parent Support Specialist
On PEAS visits and in parent support groups, families with young children in developmental services continue to share their experiences of daily life. Some families must go it alone if support from extended family or others is not available. For families fortunate enough to have help close by such as for babysitting, they use their support judiciously so as not to “wear it out”. When emotional support or advice is offered from different quarters, it is often appreciated but not always a fit. A number of parents note profound differences between theirs and the parenting experiences of their friends and relatives.
For one thing, therapeutic appointments can dominate the week. Each day, one or another practitioner may be scheduled to come to the home and some may come for block appointments of up to 3 hours several days per week depending on a child’s needs. For other services such as medical appointments, developmental playgroups, speech, occupational or physical therapy, parents may travel to clinical offices or preschool sites. In terms of sheer frequency, parents easily see their children’s practitioners more than they see their friends. Some parents note that their practitioners are practically becoming their friends. With such full schedules, when is the “right” time to access support, and how do families fit this into their busy lives?
There are many entry points to parent support. Some parents will want support as soon as they enter infant services or at some point along the way. Some may wait until their child is settled into special education preschool services and their schedules are well established. Others may seek support as they adjust to new information such as a diagnosis that was unexpected or which feels to be a confirmation of their suspicions. The “right” time to seek support is the one that is right for each individual family. What is key for parents to know is that as parents take care of their children, it is equally important to take care of themselves.
During PEAS visits, parents and caregivers have opportunities to share their unique family situations, and talk about themes and feelings common to managing the daily life of being in services. It makes a difference to them to know they are not alone in their experiences, and it helps to learn about resources and ways to connect with others.
If you know of a family who could use some emotional support as they navigate the life of having a child in developmental services, please continue to let them know PEAS is here when their time is right. Because when a family is ready, even a small dose of support and information can make a difference.
PEAS is a short term and flexible parent support service available in English or Spanish to Sonoma County parents with young children receiving developmental or special education services, birth to 5, or not yet in Kindergarten. Thanks to an MHSA grant, services are provided at no cost to families and are available in the privacy of parents’ homes or other quiet settings, making parent support private, confidential, and accessible for busy parents. To make a referral (with a parent’s permission of course) or to learn more about PEAS, A Specialized Parent Support program, visit us at www.earlylearninginstitute.com under Services-Parent Support, or call us at 707 591-0170.