We are creating this space to share stories and spark conversation between our families and yours. We want this to be a safe, thoughtful, informative, practical connection for parents raising kids with special needs.
As SSG’s Executive Director, I was asked to write the inaugural blog post. And, to be honest, I’ve procrastinated. I’ve started and stopped a dozen times. What to share? Where to start? How much is too much? Being new to this position, I am frequently asked about my background. Where did I work before? I was the Director of Program Operations for the Alaska Native Justice Center. Am I from Alaska? No, I’m an Army brat. Moved to Alaska in 2001. Am I a parent? Yes, Hannah is 15 and Connor is 18. Do they have special needs? Yes, Connor has an autism diagnosis and Hannah, well, is 15. Does that count? Typical questions. Rote answers.
The answers you aren’t likely to hear are that Connor also has a PTSD diagnosis after being pushed from a 3rd story window when he was 6 years old. Or that a significant motivating factor to move our family from rural Texas to western Alaska was the lack of support and constant criticism from family about our parenting abilities. Or that for years, the goal of each day was just to make it to bedtime, because sleep was the only respite.
Parenting through trauma and crisis has been difficult, but now, as we celebrate Connor’s 18th birthday, we know that all the struggles have only made the joys that much sweeter. Over the years, we have found support in some unlikely places and are deeply grateful to those who have helped our family, because the truth is, we couldn’t do it by ourselves.
Which brings me back to SSG starting this blog. We hope you can identify and connect with us as parents. The stories shared here might be funny, heartbreaking, frustrating, or even ordinary. But they will all be real stories, from real families, just like mine and yours.
Stone Soup Group