Creating a strong network of support with family, friends, or community members means having people you can count on as you care for your child with a disability. Having those you can reach out to can make you feel more connected and supported when making big decisions and may also reduce feelings of isolation. Read on to learn more about things you can do to expand your circle of support within your community.
Common questions asked when creating a network of support
Who can I include in my circle when creating a network of support?
It is up to you to decide who you feel comfortable with when building an inner circle of support. This may include family members, friends, teachers, therapists, and neighbours. Be open to reaching out to various community members who can support you or provide meaningful opportunities for your child (e.g. peer social skills groups, volunteering etc.)
What are some ways that I can engage with my community?
- Speak to your child’s service provider about local programs that build on their strengths and interests
- Connect with agencies who support individuals with your child’s diagnosis
- Connect with local community: places of worship, community centers, volunteer opportunities
- Start or join parent support groups (e.g. Facebook or other social media platforms)
How can I find more support at Surrey Place?
- Connect with centralized intake for ages (0-18)
- Connect with DSO Toronto Region for ages (18+)
- Request to meet with a clinician or service coordinator to meet the specific needs of your child
- Take a look at our Wellness services to access a wide range of wellness events that provide support across the life span and are offered through various means (e.g. groups, clinics, drop-in or phone.) Register for these on the Surrey Place website
- Check out our online Resource Library which is filled with various tools and tip sheets (e.g. Surrey Place Family Connections Group, Helpful Tips for Parents Managing Services)
What is respite and where can I access these services?
Respite is a family support service that provides temporary relief from the demands involved in caring for a family member with special needs. It allows your child the opportunity to participate in community activities or recreational programs. respiteservices.com is a great place to start to find resources, information and options related to respite care available within the City of Toronto.
What are some important resources, financial supports and programs that can be part of my network of support?
- Resources, Programs and Community Services List
- Parenting with A Disability Network
- Canadian Advocacy Tool Kit- Holland Bloorview
- Options Program- Family Services Toronto
- Family Support Network for Employment
- Toronto Agencies Offering Interpretation Services
- Connected Families- Forum for caregivers to connect
- Local government services in the GTA
- Family Link Program- Community Living Toronto
Dingwall, Charlotte; Kemp, Kristi; Fowke, Barbara. Creating a Good Life in Community, A Guide on Person-Directed Planning. Funded by Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services, 2006.
Whiting, Mark. Impact, meaning and need for help and support: The experience of parents caring for children with disabilities, life-limiting/life-threatening illness or technology dependence. Journal of Child Health Care. 17(1) 92–108.