Opening our Sunday paper, I was surprised to find this front page story:
“Finding a sitter for a special needs individual, child or adult, is often impossible,”
Finding genuine respite may be like finding the Holy Grail for families living with special needs.
From my view, most available activities and programs seem to require a parent in attendance from accompanying a Pennsylvania Department of Mental Retardation aide to Easter Seals social activities such as bowling, swimming, and cooking.
Whether technically respite or not, certainly there is camaraderie to such activities and parent to parent contact, support, and information exchange are invaluable.
Inquiring minds might notice that United Cerebral Palsy hosts the respite center and Easter Seals sponsors the social activities. Googling “teen autism” locally may not even find these resources easily.
Summertime amplifies need because special education takes a vacation.
Summertime traditions may as well be a parallel universe. These are teens and young adults that cannot be dropped off at a pool or amusement park. Camps for special needs are far and few and expensive.
It takes somehow finding the time in a day with no time to mine for gold through the fragments of local information available.
More media attention on caring resources is a special need we all share.