Parents of children with special needs connect through support group

Local News

PEORIA, Ill. — Parents of children with special needs have a new way to connect.

The local support group meets monthly, providing parents with resources, friendship, and advice.

“Parenting in itself is difficult,” said Erica Strunk, a parent of a child with special needs.

For these parents, raising a child can be even more challenging.

“”It’s difficulties from sleep, from feeding, being able to read your child if they have a communication delay. It’s a lot of difficulties that people may not even think about,” said Strunk.

Many of the parents say they put their kid’s first, ahead of their own needs.

“Parents don’t always have time for themselves because they’re so engrossed in what their child is doing,” said Julie Herzog with the Tazewell County Health Department.

But now, these parents have a new outlet.

“This is a way from them to come together, and kinda let their guards down, open up, and share their experiences,” said Herzog.

It’s an opportunity these parents and caregivers didn’t have before.

“In looking in the community, there really was not much for them,” said Herzog.

Since it’s first meeting in March, group members have connected through their experiences.

“There’s a great need for support. It’s a community that often gets missed because their kids aren’t really included or welcome at other play groups,” said Strunk.

The meetings have given parents new friendship and outreach.

“This is a chance for them to come tell their stories, their situations that they’re in, and us help give them information and resources to help them,” said Strunk.

Parents are grateful for hte group, and hope more reach out for support.

“They’re just really thrilled, and thankful,” said Herzog.

The group’s next meeting details are below:

The meetings are open to any parents or caregivers no matter the diagnosis or disability.

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