Supporting parents of children with special needs
24 October 2019
Bel Porto School for Learners with Severe Intellectual Impairments arranged a morning workshop for parents to network and share experiences in a safe space.
The workshop was presented by Naiemah Williams, a WCED Social Worker in the Metro Central Education District. She addressed basic parenting skills through the topic ‘Love Language and Behaviour’.
Williams also informed parents of the protocols around reporting neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse and the more covert form of emotional abuse. She presented these often avoided topics in her forthright, yet graceful manner.
The morning workshop was attended by 42 parents. It was a particular suitable time for stay-at-home parents and carers of children with disabilities. They are often involved in the end-of day care of their special children, usually during the time of after-hour school meetings. Some parents took leave from work to attend the workshop.
Bel Porto School Principal, Ilona Herman, said there were very few support options for parents of children with severe intellectual and physical impairments. Many of these parents, of whom a large number are single parents, carry this burden all by themselves.
Herman said during a question and answer session that there was an outpouring of comments from parents about the enormity of being a parent or carer of a child with a disability.
Parents spoke of their own emotional well-being and the understanding that they need from those around them. Many also shared how special they feel at having “been chosen” to be the parent of a child with special needs.
Herman said parents have requested further workshops on specific topics. These will be done on a quarterly basis. She thanked Williams for her commitment to the children and their parents and carers in need.