- Are you the parent of a child with developmental disabilities or special health care needs?
- Do you feel like no one else understands the feelings and changes you are going through?
- Would you like to talk with another parent, family member, or self-advocate with a similar situation?
- Do you need information related to your child's (or your own) special needs?
- Would you like to be part of a network of support, provided by other parents, self-advocates or professionals who have "been there" and will listen to you with an open heart and an open mind?
- Would you like information on support groups or other types of support?
You can request a SOS parent to parent match and be connected to another parent who will share their experiences with you, listen to you, and help you by providing information and emotional support.
* SOS also provides peer matches for individuals with disabilities, extended family members or professionals.
What Can I Expect from an SOS Match?
Mentors do not provide medical advice or formal counseling. They don't give advice, but speak from their own experiences, and always leave decisions up to you!
An SOS mentor is a parent* who has had experiences or concerns similar to those you are having now. They have "been there". Your SOS mentor is there for you to talk to. You can share your feelings, frustrations, or celebrations. They are there to listen with an open heart and open mind. Remember, they have had experiences similar to yours!
Mentors help provide you with:
- Someone to listen to you and understand
- Information about the disability or special healthcare need
- Information about community resources
- Information about caring for a child with developmental disabilities or special healthcare needs
- Information about navigating the "systems" of support
- Ideas and stories of their own experiences
How Do I Get a Parent to Parent or Peer Match?
Remember, SOS matches are free and confidential. What you share with your mentor stays between the two of you!
There are several ways to start the matching process:
After we receive your request, we will ask you a few questions about your situation, and talk to you about what kind of a match you would like. Parent to parent or peer support matches can be based on type of disability, geographic location, particular concerns or issues, such as surgeries, medication, treatments, or behavior issues, or any other number of factors. It is up to you!
How Does a 1-1 Match Work?
After gathering as much information as you wish to share, we will find a match as close as possible to your specifications by searching our database of SOS mentors (made up of parents of children with disabilities or special healthcare needs, extended family members, people with disabilities, and professionals).
Once a mentor is found, with your permission, they will be provided with your phone number and/or email address. Most SOS match contacts are made by telephone, but can also be by email. The mentor will call you as soon as possible, usually within a couple of days.
The SOS coordinator will follow up with you from time to time, just to see how the match is going and if you are getting the support that you need. If at any time you don't feel like the person you are matched with is right for you, let the coordinator know and another match can be arranged.