Norwich mum’s support for launch of online forum to support families of disabled children
PUBLISHED: 06:30 07 October 2014
copyright: Archant 2014
A Norwich mum is supporting the launch of an online forum for parents of children with disabilities.
Q&A with Whizz-Kids
Q. What is the Parents Network?
A. The online network has a large emphasis on peer-to-peer support and also includes a co-branded online forum with Mumsnet. We aim to empower parents to feel supported, informed and inspired.
Q. What is the need for another network for parents of disabled people, aren’t there lots already?
A. Whizz-Kidz has almost 25 years of experience supporting disabled children and young people, and has the largest network of young disabled people across the UK. The parents we work with have told us that life can be very tough for families with disabled children, and together we identified the need to launch for our new Parents Network specifically for families of young people with mobility impairments and additional support needs.
Q. Do I have to be an existing user of Whizz-Kidz’s services to access the network?
A. No, anyone can visit our website to use our free resources, watch our videos, and, if they choose, visit our joint forum with Mumsnet.
Q. Will I have to pay to use it?
A. No, there is no cost to using the resources in our Parents Network.
Q. Can I post or share my stories anonymously? I don’t want to say something that will affect the services I use.
A. It is at your discretion to contribute to the Mumsnet forum, or leave comments on our website, and we advise you don’t post anything you don’t want attributed to you. If you want to share your story with Whizz-Kidz, for example via the Parents Network sign-up form, we can and will anonymise it at your request.
Q. The Parents Network is online only – what if I want to meet up with local parents offline? I don’t use the internet very much.
A. This is something we hope to be able to offer as the network grows and we are able to secure more funding to provide meet-ups, roundtable events, and forums. Watch this space in 2015.
Tina Connor-Saunders, 47, is one of the first parents to try out the Parents Network, run by disabled children’s charity Whizz-Kidz.
The site aims to support families across all areas, but particularly with the changes to support for young people with special educational needs and disabilities which came into effect last month.
Now, the charity has teamed up with Mumsnet to launch a forum for families, something Mrs Connor-Saunders is keen to be involved with.
“My son Joel has cerebral palsy and he’s just turned 18, but I do think I would have benefited from something like this when he was younger.
“Sometimes you don’t know where to start, but now Joel’s older and I’ve been through the whole process with him, perhaps we could help people who have only just been diagnosed and don’t know what to expect.”
Chief Executive of Whizz-Kidz Ruth Owen OBE said the new package of support from the charity’s partnership with Mumnet would help families struggling to support their disabled child. “As a wheelchair used myself, I know how hard it can be to navigate the public services requird of day-to-day life and I’m an adult,” she said.
“Parents, particularly those who don’t have friends with disabled kids, often worry more than their children do as they face a system of struggle just trying to do what’s best for their families.
“Whizz-Kidz has more than 24 years of supporting disabled children and we’ve gained a huge wealth of experience and expertise which we can offer parents through our new online resources.”
Mrs Connor-Saunders, who lives in Wordsworth Road, urged other parents to take a look at the site in the hope it might answer some of their questions.
“Parents should try it and enjoy it, use it even if it’s just for advice or if you’re looking for help or even to get involved with Whizz-Kids.
“It could be a real lifeline for some people, I used to sit racking my brans because I didn’t know who to ask.
“But with this, you can just go online and have a friend.”
To sign up to Whizz-Kidz’s Parents Network, visit whizz-kidz.org.uk/get-our-help and click “Parents Network.”
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