Socializing Support for Special Needs Parents Series

Social Media Offers Unique Support for us Parents of Awesomeness

Image: Twitter Connects - Social Media and Support for Special Needs Parents 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 usually 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. Support for Special Needs Parents on Facebook 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.

Katrina Moody

Katrina Moody

Graphic Designer, Wordpress Addict, Blogger at Kat's Media & More
I'm a special needs parent before just about everything else in life, but also a passionate advocate for my three boys and husband, who all have a bit of awesomeness about them. Awesomeness = Axenfeld-Rieger Syndrome, Autism, Epilepsy, Dyslexia, Cerebral Palsy, and more. It all adds up to some awesome kids and an amazing family.
Katrina Moody
Katrina Moody
Katrina Moody

Latest posts by Katrina Moody (see all)

  • http://onthewebbsocialmedia.com Shelley Webb

    When I first began on Twitter in 2008, I was caring for my aging father who suffered from dementia. I was essentially stuck at home and besides working on my blog IntentionalCaregiver, I needed a place to vent. There were not many caregivers apparent at that time, but Twitter quickly became a place for caregivers to unite and support each other. Eldercarechat and Alzchat came into existence and now it’s a great community of help. I’ve noticed that with the special needs community too. :)

    • http://katscafe.org Katrina Moody

      Thanks for your heartfelt comment Shelley! I’m sorry for your experience but so happy you were also able to find the kind of support that is amazingly available on Twitter and other social media sites! Are both of those chats still going strong and do you ever participate in them anymore?

      I think the support you can give and receive on social media is an amazing way for those of us in similar shoes – dealing with being a caregiver and always taking care of someone else. :-)

      So glad you stopped by!

      • http://onthewebbsocialmedia.com Shelley Webb

        Hi Katrina,

        Both of those chats are still growing strong and some new ones have been added. I participate when I can because I am still an RN Geriatric Care Manager so I learn a lot there. :)

        • http://katscafe.org Katrina Moody

          That’s awesome to hear Shelley – I’m always concerned when I see chats die out, so many helpful ones can get lost in the shuffle of daily life and other obligations!

  • http://canceremotionalwellbeing.com Niki Barr, PhD

    Great ideas in this post! Having community in social media brings wonderful support.

    • http://katscafe.org Katrina Moody

      You are so right Niki! I know that the Cancer community is very active on Twitter – with your website’s focus being on emotional well-being while living with Cancer I wonder if you have been a part of any of the Twitter Chats yourself?

  • http://www.edmundslee.com Edmund Lee

    Keep rockin’ it Katrina! I love what you’re doing on Twitter. More importantly, I love what you’re doing for those in the special needs community.

    • http://katscafe.org Katrina Moody

      Thanks Edmund! I love social media and I love using it for personal and not-so-personal stuff, but I think it’s fascinating to see how its use has changed over time to include support and research, among other things! :D

  • http://www.anitafiander.com Anita

    Great insight! Community support and social media go hand in hand :)

  • http://www.thegunmarket.com.au/ Aayna

    A very heart felt post!! These days the social media has the power to do practically anything!! If we organize some event by taking the support of the social media the event will surely become a viral. Thanks for the ideas!!

  • http://www.collinsconsulting.com.au/what-we-do/executive-search Fatima

    Social media has definitely provided a platform to vent out about issues that are not generally addressed among friends and hangouts. This is an amazing effort to actually pull up a series on special parents. I would love to be a part of it. Thanks for the inspiring share

  • http://www.happywivesclub.com Mai Bateson

    Facebook has been very friendly to us since my hubby and I live so far away from each other. I’m in the Philippines and he’s in US. But good news is that, the agony of waiting for nearly 2 years will come to an end. Hubby and I will be together this coming August! Facebook became our communication. I also met his family and friends through this social networking site. I see my veteran father-in-law posts about different issues that the government is facing right now, even the weather, events and etc. I get to know them more and also the things I have to expect in the new place I’ll be calling “home” soon… :)

  • http://robinson-robinson.com James Robinson

    Good to know there’s a strong and solid support for special needs parents