05 August 2015

Help from special people

Coping with one child with disabilities is hard enough but dealing with two takes a special person and special help – or so Hamilton mum Samantha Te Papa has found.

Help from special people
Hamilton Press August 5 2015

Originally from Britain, Te Papa came to New Zealand 11 years ago, moving to Hamilton in 2009 where she joined Parent to Parent – an organisation which supports families of children with disabilities and impairments.

Her first son, Hayden, now 8, has spastic quadriplegia, cerebral palsy and severe epilepsy. Other than that, he is a very bright boy.

Three years ago second son Harrison arrived and while things seemed normal at the outset, he was eventually diagnosed with autism and a severe processing disorder. Otherwise also a very bright boy.

‘‘Being able to turn to Parent to Parent has been really good,’’ Te Papa said.

‘‘I knew nothing about autism to begin with. It is a totally different world. Parent to Parent has provided me with lots of information and shown me where to go to meet parents of other kids with similar disabilities.

‘‘Parent to Parent has allowed me to understand what is out there to help and to talk to therapists to better understand the professional practice – although therapists don’t have to live at home with the problems.’’

Parent to Parent also helped in moving children out of the home, when the time came, into more independent living arrangements, she said.

A nationwide not-for-profit organisation formed in 1983, Parent to Parent New Zealand celebrates its 2015 awareness week, August 10-16.

Free and confidential, last year Parent to Parent connected 478 parents with a volunteer support parent; provided 2860 tailor-made information packs, sibling support programmes for 92 children and teens, and training courses for 130 parents.

Parent to Parent Waikato regional co-ordinator Carol Maynard said the main event for Parent to Parent’s awareness week in Hamilton was the sensory-friendly screening of the movie Minions. Sensory-friendly screening means the lights are left on low and the sound volume is reduced.

‘‘We want to provide an opportunity for families to attend the movies as a whole without fear of being asked to leave because their child might make some noises or get excited. People with special dietary requirements can take their own food and there is also allowance made for increased levels of movement and noise,’’ Maynard said.

The special screening will be at 4pm on Sunday August 16 at Event Cinemas Chartwell. Tickets are $7.50 and can be purchased from Dash Tickets dashtickets.co.nz/event/vg1504ntf

Inquiries to phone 0508 236 236 or visit parent2parent.org.nz

HP pic

Hamilton mum Samantha Te Papa, with sons Hayden, 8, and Harrison, 3, says Parent to Parent was a lifesaver/PHOTO BRUCE MILLER

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