F.A.T. City: Frustration, anxiety and tension

By Jessica Connor | Aug 04, 2015

Are you worried about your child’s emotional well-being? You are not alone! G.E.A.R. Parent Network has been offering support to families and caregivers who are faced with the joys and challenges of raising children who have developmental, emotional or behavioral health needs since the late 1980s.

G.E.A.R. Parent Network is a parent-run organization that can truly relate to your challenges. We have been through many of the same trials you may be facing, or are preparing to face, as your child grows. We know firsthand that children with emotional and behavioral disabilities are often misunderstood by peers, family, friends and people in our communities, and that families often struggle with a wide range of emotions on the journey of helping children succeed in the real world.

Emotions can range from grief to feeling isolated from their own friends, families and community members or organizations. But it doesn’t have to be that way!

That’s why our G.E.A.R. Parent Support Coordinators are highly trained, and able to offer free monthly support groups and workshops with childcare on site, free of charge, and provided by qualified staff at our Searsport location. We also offer one-to-one parent support over the telephone, or within the community, and can connect you to valuable resources statewide that can truly make a difference for you and your family.

Our workshops cover many various topics from ADHD to positive behavioral supports, to understanding how toxins can affect your child’s developing brain, and more. Often times, we are able to bring in professionals who can speak on special topics that are relevant to what you're experiencing.

G.E.A.R. Parent Network has regional parent support coordinators throughout the state who have firsthand experience and are happy to serve you. I am your regional parent support coordinator for Waldo, Washington and Hancock counties; my contact information is provided below.

I recently became affiliated with G.E.A.R. Parent Network, and am eager to put my experience, passion and skills to work to help you through your own journey. I have been an active member of the community by advocating for special needs students in the local RSU, promoting proper funding for education and better mainstreaming efforts for special needs children, as well as raising funds for my children’s schools and individuals by organizing community events.

I have coached families on how to effectively advocate, helped parents navigate the complicated IEP process, and volunteered at numerous school functions, as well as serving on several committees. With credentials in mediation, I've helped families resolve conflict with school staff, and have used my hobby of public speaking and public relations to encourage the community to become more involved in creating an innovative vision statement for the local school district.

I will host a free support group the fourth Tuesday of each month during the school year at Searsport Head Start, 3 Back Searsport Road, from 6 to 8 p.m. Remember, childcare is provided at no charge with an RSVP.

On Tuesday, Sept. 22, at 6 p.m., there will be a workshop called, “F.A.T. City: How Difficult Can This Be?” F.A.T City is an acronym for, “Frustration, Anxiety and Tension.” Created by Rick Lavoie, M.A., M.Ed., this eye-opening workshop helps parents and caregivers gain perspective on what everyday life is like for a child who lives with a learning disability.

To contact me for support, resources, to register for a workshop or just to have someone listen to and empathize with your struggles, please call or email: 548-4121 or  jconnor@crisisandcounseling.org. For toll-free telephone support, call 1-800-264-9224.

If you are looking for support outside Waldo, Washington or Hancock counties, you can locate your regional parent support coordinator by visiting G.E.A.R. Parent Network on the web at gearparentnetwork.com

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