Families come to First Step at a moment of crisis and fear as or after they become aware that their child has a special need and/or disability and often long before health professionals are ready to acknowledge that there is a problem.
Parents are often searching for the “pill”, “therapy” or “medical intervention” that will “cure” their child. In many cases, that is not possible, and parents find themselves isolated and alone, in a world where there is little understanding, help and support that they can access. As such, they are left to their own devices during what is often an extremely, testing and traumatic time.
First Step builds long lasting relationships and supports families on their potentially long and difficult journeys. We believe nobody knows a child better than their parents, so our starting point is to actively listen to families and really hear their story.
It is often said that First Step has a “kind of magic” which for over 30 years has been providing families with what has been described as a kind of “immersive experience.” This approach enables us to help families come to terms with the impact of raising a child with special needs and helps to empower them to progressively move forward with the courage and confidence to ensure that their child achieves meaningful outcomes.
We can find no more elegant and meaningful words to describe a families initial experiences of raising a child with special needs/disability than those penned by Emily Pearl Kingsley
First Step are the 'Customer Support Team' that is sited in the Arrivals Lounge, a ‘Team’ that is ready, willing and experienced to assist and support families as they come to terms with their change of destination. This project will provide essential information, support, encouragement and a source of care for not only the child, but for those vulnerable parents as they continue on their journey.
Your funding will enable us to continue to support families so that:
- Families know and feel someone understands and cares about them, their child and their situation
- Families can accept and come to terms with the needs of their child
- Families are empowered to nurture and develop their child
- Parents feel more empowered to effectively manage the professionals they are dealing with
- Parents are given the opportunity and confidence to establish a network of lifelong friendships and mutual support
- Families are empowered to identify and access funding and manage future reviews of benefits and service provision
Finally, what better way to demonstrate the impact of our work and the difference that your donation will make but to share the stories of some of our children and their families