Being a parent of a special needs child can be overwhelming at times. One of the biggest struggles reported by these parents is a sense of isolation. In order to bring families together for support, several local organizations and groups have taken to the internet.  Supports for families is often as close as a Facebook group or online newsletter.

Vancouver autism moms
Moms turn into superheroes in the Vancouver support group.
Photo credit: Vancouver WASHINGTON Autism Mom’s Support Group

While some families may see things like childcare a barrier to meeting in person with a support group, the use of Facebook brings families together. Local support groups and activity groups have become extremely popular within Clark County, with some groups reaching nearly 500 members.

Exploring and connecting via online groups creates safe spaces for parents to meet in a virtual sense. These groups quickly bond over shared mishaps, struggles and experiences. They also often lead to long-term friendships and in-person meetings between group members.

Here is a list of just some of the local parent orientated support groups offered via Facebook and other online resources.

Vancouver WASHINGTON Mom’s Autism Support Group

With over 450 members, this closed group serves as a sounding board for many moms in Clark County. This is a place to gather resources, share ideas and generally seek out support from other parents.

The group is meant for only parents supports and each member is vetted as far as not being from outside of this group. The group also holds monthly in-person meetings and supports a full range of local events geared towards autism awareness.

Special Connections From The Northwest

This larger group brings in special needs parents from all walks of life. They extend throughout the state and connect many within the group to advocacy groups tied to state legislation.

With over 1,200 members, this group also has a unique niche as far as the connections created. The group members are not only there for support but also find the group a viable way to exchange resources and equipment that is no longer needed. Many parents find supplies and support readily available via this group.

It Takes a Village
Resource fair for Clark County parents on June 9 at Clark College.

WAA SPA (Supporting Parents of Autism)

This statewide group is geared towards supporting parents as they access services both through the schools and via state-funded supports. This is geared towards connecting parents directly with resources as well as leading them into self-advocacy for services.

The group has roughly 1,100 members from all over the area. There is a large concentration of parents in Clark County.

Portland Autism Moms

Because many special needs families living in Clark County access services in Portland, this is a popular group for families living in Clark County as well. The group hosts a variety of in-person events to further the connections between their families. This includes quarterly family events and activities tied to holidays like Easter egg hunts and more.

This group has over 600 members from the local area. It is open to parents and caregivers.

Clark County Parent Coalition

This Facebook page is tied to educational rights within the county. They serve as a resource for parents looking for educational meetings and workshops.

Training is a big part of this page with offerings tied to special education laws and access statewide. This is a valuable resource for parents navigating special education services in the county.

An example of the types of training they offer includes an upcoming event entitled “Special Education Rights & Responsibilities” on May 21 and 22.

Autism Empowerment

This organization supports several online groups as well as in-person events for all members of the local special needs community. Their events include support groups for dads, an Easter Egg Hunt and a variety of outdoor events tied to family supports.

They also have created an online resource center and magazine tied to family supports.

Washington Autism Alliance & Advocacy

Clark County coalition
Clark County Parent’s Coalition is sponsoring a workshop about special education laws on May 21 and 22.

This non-profit supports parents via a full range of educational activities. They are a key support for parents to access special education in the state. They also offer community events to showcase the support services available for Clark County.

Their next event will showcase a full range of community supports. It is called “It Takes A Village” and will take place on June 9 at Clark College.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email