The Parent to Parent program is based on the philosophy that parents of young children with newly-diagnosed disabilities or special needs can be helped by parents who have adjusted well to their own child's disability/special need, and have the capacity and willingness to help other parents by sharing their feelings and experiences and knowledge. "Veteran" parents are those "who have been there, done that." The "match" of a veteran parent with a parent of a child who is newly diagnosed or is going through a difficult transition time provides a unique type of assistance--one that all the best professionals cannot give.
Parent to Parent of New Hampshire invites veteran parents to help other parents by volunteering to become a Supporting Parent. You can participate on two levels: 1) the Parent Network includes veteran parents who have successfully dealt with their own child's special needs and are in a position in their lives to be able to give something to others. 2) a Trained Supporting Parent is a parent on the Network who has also completed the day-long training workshop given by P to P of NH. This training involves information about Parent to Parent-- its history, philosophy, mission, and the actual techniques of the matching process--and training in listening and communication skills. We now have more than 600 parents on the network and more than 100 that are fully trained.
Supporting Parents are listed in our computer database and are then called by the Coordinator to be a "match" when a need arises. Matches are based on "the best fit" for a new or referred parent considering all the special needs of their child, the location of the parents, the age of the child, and other relevant factors. Supporting Parents may be called often, or rarely--depending on the many factors considered for "a best fit." And, if Supporting Parents are not able-for whatever reasons-to become a match when called, they are free to tell that to the Coordinator. Supporting Parents are asked to initiate a phone call (or maybe email message) to the new parent, usually within 24 hours of the match. And are asked to make at least three other contacts in the next 4 to 6 weeks. Matches usually take place by phone, but also increasingly by email, and can even include personal visits--all depending on the needs and arrangements that the Supporting Parent and the new parent make between themselves. Parent matches may involve only a few contacts, or may last a lifetime--all depending on the relationship that is developed. Matched parents are most free and encouraged to let the Coordinator know if the match doesn't seem to be meeting their needs, either of the Supporting Parent or the new parent. Sometimes there is a good fit, sometimes not. Other matching is then possible for the referred or new parent.
So, if you have experience and wisdom as a parent of a child with a special need, and believe you are in a position in your life to give something to a new parent in a similar situation, please consider joining our Parent Network by clicking the box below. When you join the Network we will send you a packet of materials for your information and inspection. We will also keep you informed of when the next Training Workshop will be held.
Our computer base is primarily for New Hampshire and Vermont parents because of the need for geographic proximity. However, parents from other states are welcome to sign up if they are agreeable and content being a supporting parent via email.