Most parents would admit that parenting is a challenge, with difficulties and unexpected learning opportunities around every corner. Many people feel that having someone to talk with, learn from and turn to in times of stress and uncertainty is essential. Parents whose children have special needs could use this kind of support even more. They need other parents who have been there and done that -- who can share the wisdom of their experience and practical tips for when times get tough. All too often, though, parents of special needs children find themselves feeling isolated.
Parent-to-parent programs connect parents who are new to raising a special needs child with those who have already traveled that road and can offer the benefit of their experience. As the name implies, these programs pair up individual parents. Experienced and trained parents are matched with those in need of support. Care is taken to match parents in similar situations who are coping with similar issues.
Parent to Parent of the United States (Parent to Parent USA or P2P USA) is an organization that supports and connects the statewide, regional and local programs throughout the country. P2P USA's mission is to make available the resources that can help parents of children, teens and adults with a variety of special needs. Its Web site, p2pusa.org, is an information hub where parents can not only find out about their state's Parent to Parent programs, but also have access to a variety of useful resources. In addition, the site can provide technical support for Parent to Parent organizations.
For more information about using the Parent to Parent USA Web site to get involved, read on.