We are starting a new virtual learning series at Building BLOCS–Lunch and Learn. Join us on Thursdays as we explore topics that our families consistently ask about–potty training, sleep routines, challenging behaviors, and more. This week we’re starting with an introduction to Special Education and the IEP process.Continue reading “Special Education and the IEP Process”
Building BLOCS knows how important it is to keep our kids active in the community, but finding sensory friendly activities that work for your child is rare. Here is our list of local or virtual sensory friendly events for your family to explore in the Austin area.Continue reading “Autism Friendly Activities in Austin”
Building BLOCS is now in South Austin! We provide early intervention to children 18 months – 5 years of age and their families. South Austin families can register now for home-based ABA therapy.
Call today for more information. 512.827.7011
Building BLOCS is enrolling for the Fall 2021 semester. We have openings for Early Intervention groups as well as Individual ABA Therapy.
Call us for more information and to schedule your assessment.
What is a support group and is it right for me?
Recently at Building BLOCS we have begun offering a support group for parents of special needs kiddos, specifically for parents of children with ASD. A question that was frequently posed to me was, “what is the purpose of a support group and how would it benefit me?” I thought this was a great topic for our blog.
Support groups offer a group therapy environment where all the members are tackling similar issues in their lives and give the opportunity for members to share their stories and experiences in the hopes of creating a cathartic experience for themselves as well as helping others on a similar path. Support groups may meet anywhere from once to several times a month and can be specified to an ever-increasing array of topics such as depression, anxiety, and survivors of various serious illnesses.
Parents of children with special needs often find they have similar struggles and successes with their journeys despite whatever differences in diagnoses and family life may exist. It is a space where parents can feel validated and heard as well as hear feedback from their group and facilitator. Often parents will discuss and share resources, normalize the experiences of other parents, and share uplifting successes. Support groups are a beautiful opportunity to expand your world view, heal, empower others and be empowered, be a part of a community, and participate in self-care!
While all of this may sound wonderful to some parents, others may not quite be ready for the process and the overall group experience. How will you know if it is right for you? I would recommend contacting the therapist facilitating the group to discuss if group is appropriate for your needs. There can be dozens of factors contributing to why a person isn’t ready for the group experience just yet.
- You may be an incredibly empathetic person and hearing about the struggles of others puts more weight on your shoulders and may cause you additional distress. You may find that hearing about the problems of others does not relieve your distress but adds to it. This may be a fluctuating experience. There may be some discomfort with mental health counseling as we are discussing situations that are causing issues in your life, however ultimately, we want the group experience to create empowerment, catharsis, acceptance, and healing.
- You may have additional presenting concerns affecting your mental health that require more individual attention. Or you may simply prefer the individual attention provided by individual counseling. If you’ve never experienced a support group, I would either research what to possibly expect, or again, reach out to the facilitator. If you’re considering our BLOCS parent support group I am more than happy to have a consultation with anyone considering the support group or individual therapy to discuss your options and which would be a better fit for your mental health needs.
- One of the biggest reasons anyone avoids a support group of any kind is the hesitancy to accept there is an issue. Sometimes we find that parents struggle with accepting the reality of the diagnosis or it is still “too fresh” and they haven’t had time to come to terms with it yet, let alone join a group with people sharing the same issue. This is perfectly normal and to be expected! Just because you’re not quite ready for a support group does not mean you’re not necessarily ready for therapy. This is a scenario where individual or even couples counseling would be a great beginning opportunity to promote healing.
I could look for jokes, quotes, or any cute little platitude to summarize these thoughts, but as a parent of special needs kiddos, you’ve likely heard them all! So, I’ll save you an eye roll at whatever horrible joke I would have come up with by again stating the utmost importance of self-care. Regardless of if you’re even a parent or not, self-care is vital to good mental health and we want to ensure our BLOCS parents (and all other parents) are taking care of themselves in addition to their kiddos. Please feel free to contact me at email@example.com with any questions regarding our counseling services.
Maggie Hammer, M.A., LPC-Intern, RBT
Supervised by Wanda Montemayor, LPC-S
Think voice output devices are expensive, bulky, or easily breakable? Think again. Watch Brandy talk about some of the low-tech, inexpensive options we use to assist kids with communication.
What are some easy tricks that you’ve found for assisting with communication?
October is Rett Syndrome Awareness Month. At Building BLOCS, this topic is very close to our hearts. As we spend time researching therapy approaches that will be most successful for children with Rett syndrome, we learn again and again that the research in this field is still very limited. The International Rett Syndrome Foundation is helping lead the charge in this area. Here are some of their resources that can help you learn more about Rett syndrome and ways you can help.