THREE Border mothers raising children with Down syndrome say while it’s hard work and often daunting, they have found solace sharing their experience with other parents and carers.
“We didn’t expect or ask to be in this position but we are here and need to embrace it,” said Jo McConnell, co-ordinator of the Albury-Wodonga Down Syndrome Family Network Group.
Ms McConnell said while family and friends were supportive, it helped to associated with those walking in the same shoes.
“We use it for friendship and a way of sharing knowledge and giving advice,” she said.
“We can give and receive tips on how to tackle things that don’t come naturally to our children, like eating and learning to walk.”
Another mother, Alana Glogolia, said the group was her “saving grace”.
“First I had a phone call with Jo,” she said.
“She told me the feelings I had were normal and I remember finishing the conversation and crying because I realised I wasn’t crazy.”
Ms McConnell said she was hoping more parents and carers could join the group and share their stories.
“When you’re speaking face-to-face with other people, sometimes a piece of information can come up that makes a difference to our daily lives,” she said.
“We’d like to meet a lot more families with children of different ages and bring everyone together.”
Staff from Down Syndrome Victoria are visiting the Border next week and Ms McConnell said she wanted the visit to be an opportunity to inv-ite people to the group.
They will host a dinner at Wodonga’s Blazing Stump Hotel on Tuesday, and on Wednesday parents and carers are encouraged to attend a support workshop at Aspire in Albury.
Ms McConnell can be contacted by phoning 0466 467 644 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.