Social Media Offers Unique Support for us Parents of Awesomeness
I’ve written before about how amazing the support for special needs parents is on Twitter, but I’ve noticed that support is becoming more socialized than ever before.
Personally, I focus on Twitter and Facebook, because try as I might, I can’t spend as much time on all the social networks as I’d like (and I MUST have time to pin!). But no matter what network you utilize, there are ways to connect with other parents, reach out for support, and encourage as well as support others in need.
Since I love my social media and all the ways we can help special needs parents too – I’ve been pulling together experts, other parents, educators and others to help explain all the ways social media has changed the way we offer and receive support for special needs parents.
This topic is complicated even if the root idea is a simple one – connecting with others when you need support is a very basic human need! Because of that, I’m going to look at ways you can use each of the big social media channels to find and give support within the special needs community. As the series continues, I’ll pull in guest bloggers to tackle related topics, like how much is too much to share on social media? And finally – I’m openly inviting all Cafe friends to be a part of the series by commenting on posts and sharing on social media – I’ll be pulling your thoughts together to share as well!
Twitter Support Means Individualized Help at Your Fingertips
Twitter is one of my favorite places to lose myself. I’ve been known to butt into other conversations about education and autism, and I am
always welcomed. Twitter is sometimes my 140 character venting diary when things are tough, and my personal cheering section when we have an amazing breakthrough. I especially like to use hashtags in a silly way, though using hashtags appropriately and searching them can be an amazing help too!
And of course keeping my sense of humor about said craziness at home when we get a great response is an absolute must:
Twitter is a great place to connect with others to give support as well. When another parent tweeted out the need for an advocate because her child’s school wanted to change placement (to a more restrictive environment no less!), I jumped on and tweeted (and shared to Facebook) about the need for resources and/or a personal contact.
It’s Not Just Twitter, Facebook Offers Amazing Support for Special Needs Parents too!
Recently, I’ve had some amazing conversations through the Kat’s Cafe Facebook Page by asking the audience to help solve problems. One thing I’ve found is that special needs parents, advocates and educators on Facebook are especially willing to jump in and help when needed. And they love to hear about the good times and support us through the bad.
For instance, our local school system is trying to change the way our students are educated. We just found out last week that are middle school students will be expected to attend high school in the life skills classroom there. This obviously frustrated us and other parents who are directly affected because their students would be going to the high school without any advance warning next year. So I asked a question on the Cafe Facebook page and invited Cafe fans to respond to the situation, including what legal and educational resources might be available for the parents who wanted to fight with the school was doing. That post, currently has a few shares, several comments and other engagement, but the best thing is that it offers parents a chance to give support to local area parents during this frustrating situation. And via comments we’ve found out that it’s happened across the country in other school districts. I shared this status update to my personal profile and was able to pull in other advocates and parents who commented too. The point: if you have friends and family on Facebook or Twitter, even those you only know online, you can reach out for information and support easily, any time. That’s some pretty powerful support! This doesn’t even touch on the support you can find in active special needs parenting groups on Facebook. There are groups for any condition you might be dealing with, some more active than others.
Social Media and Awesomeness — The Series …
Social media experts, other special needs parents, and others will be weighing in on additional posts in this series, where we’ll talk in more detail about the different ways social media is changing personal and community support for special needs parents.
We’ll look at specific communities, pages, Twitter accounts, Twitter Chats, Linked In and Linked In groups, Google+ and Google+ Communities, and tons of other socialized support possibilities.
I would LOVE you to be part of the conversation!
Please consider sharing your story in the comments below – are you a special needs parent or involved on social media? Have you seen ways social media can help special needs parents?
And don’t forget to be back soon to read more in the Socializing Support for Special Needs Parents Series.