The Power of a Parent Match

Connections all across the State By Danielle Woodcock

When you get a new diagnosis for your child that you never have expected, it is life changing.  Isolation and grief come flooding in along with the questions of why me?  Why us?  It can feel like no one else knows what is going on and that is where a parent match comes in and saves the day.  Finding another parent that knows those feelings and has had similar experiences can mean so much. I didn’t get individually matched when we got our diagnosis for my daughter but I found that support through groups such as Holland and the Autism support group helped so much. I have made friends that I never would have met otherwise and they are some of my best friends.  After having received this support I wanted to share with other parents that might be getting a new diagnosis- to help them through those questions and feelings I had when we were new on this journey.  I attended Parent to Parent’s Helping Parent Training, and then about a year ago, I was matched with a parent that had received a new diagnosis for her child that was the same as my child’s. Even though this mom lived hours away, we were able to connect via text.  Over the last year we have kept up texting when something was going on or that mom had a question. Being able to share my experience or give validation to how she is feeling really makes me feel great as well, and it also reminds me that there are more people out there that are going through the same thing. This week I got the privilege of meeting her as they were in town for an appointment. When I walked in she gave me a hug and it was like seeing a long lost friend that I haven’t seen in years. We sat there and talked for almost 2 hours about different things with our children and what was new or going on. Meeting her just brought joy to my life and I could see the joy in her face of be able to talk to someone that understands. The next morning I got a sweet text from the mom thanking me for meeting her and talking with her.  She thanked me for my kindness and friendship. This connection and match has meant just as much to me as it does to her. I have made a new friend for life. 

Parent to Parent USA website

http://www.p2pusa.org/