Special Needs Mom: Community Matters

The mission of the Hoboken Special Needs Parent Group (HSNPG) is to connect families of individuals with special needs to valuable resources, programs, activities, and support services in or near the Hoboken, NJ area. We strive to support our families by advocating on their behalf, and providing them with networking opportunities through support groups, educational presentations, fundraisers, social media outlets,

and family activities which are fun and safe for all participants.

One of the best things about having a special needs child (or two), is the incredible people that you get to meet along the way. I’m convinced that whoever came up with the phase “It takes a village...” was referring to a special needs child.

There are so many people who you must surround yourself with to support you and your child, to make sure they are growing and learning the best they can. There are all the loving and supportive teachers, doctors, therapists, case managers, social workers...and the list goes on.

Each of these people are important and necessary, but the people who are most dear to my heart are the other parents who live a life like mine.

Those who understand all the crazy things that go on in a special needs household.

Those who have been where I’ve been or are going through what I’ve gone through.

Those who can celebrate the little victories like saying a 2 word sentence with all the enthusiasm of someone who just watched their favorite football team win the superbowl.

Those who can have a conversation with more abbreviations and acronyms than actual words.

Last week I found myself telling someone that I’m so lucky because my son’s DI is a BCBA who does ABA with him even though EI doesn’t offer ABA as a service, but the developmental ped. wants him to have more ABA and OT for his SPD. The person looked at me like I had just spoken ancient Greek and I had the thought, “That’s right… I’m not talking to one of my people”. I truly believe that finding “your people” is one of the most important things a special needs parent can do for themselves. I think that goes for any parent really. Finding others that you can relate to and understand you is key to keeping your sanity. I know… How dare I suggest that we do something for ourselves. But I’ve found that if I don’t do things for myself like spending time with other adults, I’m far less patient with my children and less equipped to handle the daily stress of life.

Being a part of the Hoboken Special Needs Parents Group has opened my eyes to an entire network of mothers and fathers who just “get it”. We have monthly support group meetings and “Mom’s Night Out” events that help us to connect and grow strong lasting relationships. I used to discount community. I thought I was in this by myself and no one could understand what I was feeling. I didn’t realize just how unhappy I was until I found my community and learned that those things weren't true at all. Now I couldn’t imagine my life without them!

Megan is a stay at home mom of two au-some kids & the co-director of the Hoboken Special Needs Parents Group. Her daughter Aurora (4) attends the Pre-K ABA program at Wallace Elementary. Her son Clark is 2 1/2 and is receiving services through early intervention. Both children are extremely active and always keep Megan on her toes! She and her husband moved to Hoboken 2 years ago and were blown away by the help they received from the Hoboken School District. You can also find Megan in her role as the children’s ministry leader at Hoboken Grace Church, where she oversees the care of infants ages 6 weeks to 18 months old.

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