Friday, March 11, 2011

Families and Disabilities

The number of families impacted by disabilities is growing in our country at both ends of the age spectrum. More babies with a disability are living and many, many more people are living into the higher age ranges. Many nursing homes have residents in their nineties and hundreds. All of this has a big impact on the parents of the disabled children and children of the aged parents.

While the medical care and therapy of disabled children as well as aging parents is improving, the knowledge about how it affects the extended family has been stuck in the past. Those who worked with families with a member that is disabled have seen the increase in stress but little has been done to discover exactly what the families would like to have to help them deal with the increased family stressors.

With a generous grant from the Hatton Foundation, Sweeten Life Systems took the challenge of discovering how best to support the parents and extended family members of a child with Special Needs. We did an in depth, survey and home visit research study with 12 families in the Greater Cincinnati area.

The insights offered by those families were powerful and helpful. Now we are sharing them with you. Sweeten Life web site, training sessions for churches and offering seminars to families with a Special Needs Child. Our focus is the health and welfare of the parents and family members. For Counseling, call a Christian agency Life Way and ask for a Therapist with training in this area.

We are currently looking for churches who are already committed to equipping lay persons to support and care for church members. This includes The Stephen Ministers, Lay Pastors, Growth and Healing Ministers, Teleios Ministers, Habitat for Humanity, etc. We want to enroll you in our Village Innovation Project Training Program (VIP) and help you assess what the families in your church and community need from your church.

I have been posting on conflict in families and the stress in a family with a child who has a serious disability can lead to real problems. We discovered what successful families do to keep peace in the family and we want to train Lay Ministers how to support families and prevent Toxic Conflict.

Contact us if you are interested in finding out how to support this ministry or get training or find our about our next family event.

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