Accessing support groups
According to workshops conducted, accessing support groups was the #1 way that new parents found out the information they needed to know. This is not surprising. Research has consistently shown that support groups foster personal empowerment and an improvement of overall wellbeing for their members (Barak et al., 2008).
Hearing the stories of parents in similar situations to your own can provide you with new perspectives, reassurance, and advice. Seeing other children with a hand difference thriving and adapting can also be reassuring. Support groups helped Aussie Hands member Joanne feel like her daughter’s hand difference is ‘Not such a big deal.’
As your child gets older, support groups may also be beneficial for them. Seeing other children with a hand or upper limb difference like their own can be exciting. It reassures them that they are not the only one, and often provides them with an immediate friendship.
Some support groups that you can find out about include:
Finding out that your child has an upper limb difference can be an overwhelming experience for many parents. You may wish to speak with a counsellor or psychologist who can support you in navigating through the experience.
If you are a Medicare card holder you may be eligible for a Mental Health Treatment Plan.
Speaking with a social worker
Social workers are a part of most hospitals, and limb difference clinics usually have one in their team. Their role is to provide psychosocial support. This can include:
- Being a communicator between you and the hospital system
- Advocating for you and your child
- Providing you with additional resources.
You can also contact a social worker outside of a hospital setting for short term counselling. This service is free through the Australian Government, and you can contact a social worker by calling Centrelink.
If your child is accepted, they will receive a plan that is reviewed every year. This is to ensure that your child is adequately covered, and the plan may require adjustments as your child’s needs change.