Rory Dominick tried going to parent support groups after her son Cameron was born 14 months ago. But because Cameron was born prematurely and with multiple health issues, she often found she had little in common with the other moms.
"They would be talking about what they wanted their kid to call Grandma," Dominick recalls. For Dominick, whose son has endured multiple surgeries in the past year, the parenting issues weren’t the same.
During this time, Dominick talked by phone with Cathy Rodrigues, a social worker in Lincolnshire who works with families of babies ages 3 and younger. Those phone calls provided a support system for Dominick she couldn’t find anywhere else.
"I’ve found that particularly for moms with kids with complex medical needs, there’s a lack of resources and support groups," Rodrigues says. She soon developed "Empowering Moms," a group for mothers of young children with special needs who feel isolated because of their child’s medical issues.
Each Monday morning the group meets via conference call, so moms aren’t required to transport medically fragile children. Recent conference call topics included assertiveness with health care professionals, disciplining medically fragile children and preparing for your child’s surgery.
Dominick has found support in dealing with her son’s medical issues, but she also has found a shoulder to lean on from people who really understand what she’s going through.
"At least I have this release to talk about what’s going on and what other people are going through, which puts things in perspective," Dominick says. "There’s a real missing link here and parents like us, we need this. I’d encourage any parent to try it out. Even if you find just one good connection, it’s worth it."
For more information on the group, contact Rodrigues at (847) 276-2662 or Cathy@ CathyRodrigues.com. You can also visit her Web site or blog at www.cathyrodrigues.com or www.parentingthespecialneedschild.com. There is no charge for the group, although parents are asked to provide a donation if possible.