Where do you find summer camps for a disabled child? Where do you find organizations that offer workshops to help siblings understand about disabilities and how to accept their brother or sister with a disability? How can adults find specialists who deal with their disability or find information on social security disability? How do you find out what your rights are regarding education?
Trying to cope with a disability is difficult enough, but getting essential information can be very daunting.
The internet is the way most of us get valuable information on disabilities and just about any other topic imaginable. However, not everyone has access to a computer or the internet. The local library is a good place to start for those without computers. Help is available to get you started. If computers are not for you, then periodicals and hard copy information is available for checkout and/or copying. If you look up a specific disability, there is usually a toll free number (i.e. Spina Bifida Association of America, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, etc.) that you can call and have written information sent to you. Some toll-free association phone numbers offer recorded information when you call.
For parents seeking information, your child’s school is a good place to start. The Walker County school system has an excellent parent mentor for special needs children, Michal Jones. She has a wealth of information on workshops, parent training and even summer camp information.
On the first Tuesday of every month at 6 p.m., a monthly workshop for families with disabilities is held at First Baptist Church of LaFayette, and a different speaker is featured each month. Child care is offered.
The local recreation center also has information on programs, such as the No Limits Recreation League, which offers sports programs and opportunities for social interactions for children and adults with disabilities. You may also contact me for information on No Limits. The Chattanooga Recreation Department has a Division of Therapeutic Recreation, and many different social programs are offered year-round, including summer day camps for ages 21-under. The Department of Labor Vocational Rehabilitation Department has counselors to help with job hunting skills for those with disabilities.
Physicians’ offices often have literature specific to disabilities. In most cases, a phone call is sufficient. If you can’t pick up material, the office staff is usually happy to mail it to you. Your local health department can also supply information.
If you do not have access to any of these resources, please contact me at 706-638-0337. I’d be happy to research a topic for you. If you need contact information for an agency or workshop, please let me know. If there is a topic you’d like to see in future columns, I’m open to suggestions. Knowledge is the key to better health.
Pam Rasmussen is a resident of LaFayette. She is a mother of a child with Spina Bifida and an advocate of special needs children and adults. She can be contacted at email@example.com.