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The impact of finding out your child is disabled can be wide ranging. The author’s experience as a psychologist and parent of a disabled child informs this book which focuses on what helps, and hinders, parent-carers’ emotional wellbeing. Research shows that mental health, relationships, family life, access to work and leisure activities, as well as finances can all be affected. For many parents the focus of those around them is solely on the child and their own needs become neglected. The author re-focuses attention onto the wellbeing of the parent. This includes acknowledging emotions, connecting with positive others, empowering yourself, regularly engaging in self-care and finding your own sense of meaning and purpose in life.
Identifying the myriad of different emotions parents may experience as an understandable reaction to an unexpected situation the book includes quotes from parent carers. Connecting to psychological theories, such as positive re-framing and post-traumatic growth, the book applies these in practical ways to the parent-carer experience. Acknowledging that the journey is neither linear nor simple and transitions such as secondary school, puberty and adulthood require further periods of adjustment. Parents rarely get the time or support to stop and reflect on how they are feeling as they are caught up in the day to day busyness of caring. The difficulty is exacerbated by limited resources and battling for services. Building on the author’s Doctoral research and having supported parent carers in different roles over the last 13 years this book provides a compass to ensure parents know they are not alone.
Joanna Griffin is a Chartered Counselling Psychologist . She has worked in a number of different clinical settings, including the NHS, and provides independent supervision and consultancy work. She established the website www.affinityhub.uk to signpost to emotional support for parent carers.