The heart and vitality of any parents support network revolves around the exchange of experiences, challenges, successes and failures with our disabled children. Throughout the lifetime of PVINZ we have had the ongoing support of the Blind Foundation. That support, both financial and advisory, has meant we have been able to concentrate our energies on parents , families and children. This has also allowed us to advocate widely.
Parents are neither heroes nor cowards - we are ordinary men and women who try to face the reality of our child’s disability with determination and courage. We all well remember the shock we experienced upon learning of our child’s disability - because until that moment, most of us new nothing about disability.
Suddenly we are faced with challenges we are completely unprepared for. In an instant we are expected to absorb life changing information that involves making life changing decisions. To begin the journey – we seek out the professionals and search for as much information as we can about our disabled kids. We learn that we're not alone, and that confusion and frustration are common feelings - be they related to medical, educational, social, or rehabilitation challenges. And we learn too, of the rippling affect, and how it affects our family and friends.
Some find that the advice they get fails to specifically address the day to day realities of caring for ourselves and our new arrivals, emotionally or physically. No one told us that we might experience a period of ‘grief’ as a result of not having the perfect child. No one told us that this might be a lingering experience - or indeed may never go away...
From this background emerged our parent support network. We found other parents and families and the sharing began. We suddenly had an instant engagement with another mother or father, who instantly identified with our emotions, our predicament or our space. We found families who had solutions to problems we had agonised over. We also found families who could advocate, who knew how to traverse the intimidating bureaucratic mountain, and who understand some of the professional environment we were now part of. Talking can help. It helps to talk about your situation and how you are feeling with someone you trust and respect. It helps to be a part of something that acknowledges and understands the fear and confusion that can come with having a child with disabilities. It helps to be a part of Parents of Vision Impaired - and we welcome you.