Parenting a child with a special need can often be isolating. Between doctor appointments, therapy appointments, treatments at home, hospital stays, meetings with specialists, and all of the everyday household and parenting responsibilities, it's all too easy for friendships to become lost in the shuffle.
While the support of family and close friends is vital to the emotional and mental health of any parent, feeling connected to other special needs families can help keep a parent strong and optimistic. Online support groups and blogs have been growing in popularity, but parents and children can now turn to YouTube videos to connect, learn tips, and be inspired.
My Autism My Voice
Kerry Magro, was diagnosed with PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified) at age four. As an adult with autism, he has accomplished more than many "typical" people his age. He is a recent graduate of Seton Hall, appeared in Breakthroughs in Autism, writes a blog for Autism Speaks, and was an advisor on the movie Joyful Noise. He also received the 2011 Outstanding Individual with Autism Award.
Kerry does a lot to raise awareness and help other families living with autism. One way is through videos where he talks about everything from autism therapies to handling autism related stress and telling someone that you have autism. His videos are brief but informative and you can subscribe to them on his YouTube channel My Autism My Voice.
Emily Schaller is famous in the cystic fibrosis (CF) community as the founder of the Rock CF Foundation, and a patient devoted to doing her treatments and participating in drug studies. Now she has taken to YouTube to help other CF patients. She shares recipes, her life with CF, and what the new breakthrough drug has meant to her health. Her channel is IRockCF.
Welcome to Joshland
Josh is a hero for kids with CF. On his YouTube channel Welcome to Joshland and the corresponding blog, Josh and his puppet Moganko entertain with songs about taking pills and doing treatments in a way that makes children with CF feel less alone and empowers them to take care of themselves.
Noah's dad Rick was surprised when his son was born with Down syndrome, and probably a bit scared too. But he quickly turned any ounce of fear he had into a way to show the world just how normal Noah is, and to help new parents of children with DS deal with the diagnosis and advocate for their child.
Through videos of Noah doing everyday baby activities, Rick is teaching us all that a diagnosis of DS isn't the end of the world, just the beginning of a new one. He educates parents and uses adorable videos of Noah to teach them about everything from occupational therapies to help build muscle to how playtime is no different for a child with DS.
The written word on blogs about the life of a special needs child can offer great insight, but videos allow us into a person's everyday life and teach us even more than we could have imagined. A parent of a child with a special need can now see a child with a similar condition in action, connect with that child's parents, and actually feel that she is not alone.