Parent support groups can be a lifeline for those raising children with special educational needs and disabilities.
Ask any parent, and they will say that for all the rewards that come with bringing up a child, it can be pretty challenging at times.
Finding parent support groups full of people to chat with who know exactly what you’re going through can be very reassuring. It can help you feel less alone.
However, if you have a child with additional needs, it’s not always as easy to find other parents in your situation. This can make the challenges feel even greater.
So, to help you find other parents, we’ve done some research. We have found a range of parent support groups in Wales for different disabilities.
All disabilities and additional needs
Contact a Family is for parents and carers of disabled children, whatever their need. They have a handy Google map of support groups. They have an even bigger database, so if there’s nothing in your area on the map, it doesn’t mean there’s not one there. Give them a ring on their helpline (0808 808 3555)
Scope has a befriending and mentoring service for disabled people and parents of disabled children to provide short-term, one-to-one support. They have services all over Wales so check their directory for support near you. You can also call their helpline on 0808 800 3333
Speech, language & communication needs
Emotional, behavioural and social difficulties
Together Trust works with the whole family where a children has special educational needs. This includes those with physical and learning disabilities, autism, emotional and behavioural difficulties, as well as speech, language and communication difficulties. Although Together Trust based in Manchester, they support families in Wales. You can reach them on 0161 283 4848.
The Cardiff & Vale Parents’ Federation is often called Parents Fed. It is a charity based in Cardiff, run by parents and carers of children (and adults) with learning disabilities who live in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan. You can call Parents Fed on 029 2056 5917. While on their site, check out their excellent Where You Stand reference guide for families.
Brain related conditions
Cerebra can provide parent support workers for face-to-face support in West, South West and South East Wales. They help families where a child has a brain related condition. This includes autism, delayed speech and language, mental health issues, ADHD, learning disabilities. Parent support workers also organise events and outings. Cerebra have a free telephone counselling service for parents across Wales called the Stress Helpline (0800 043 9385).
The Down’s Syndrome Association has a directory of local parent support groups for parents, carers, children and families across Wales. The DSA Helpline is 0333 1212 300.
If you’re local to Newport, T21 Dragons are a support group for parents/carers of children with Down Syndrome. They meet every first Tuesday monthly, 10am-1pm at Serennu Children’s Centre Newport and everybody is welcome. For further information you can ask to join their Facebook group, T:21 Dragons or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Across Wales – The National Autistic Society has an all-Wales database of NAS branches and groups.
- Swansea – ASDES has monthly meetings in Swansea.
- Newport – the Newport Autism Support Group meets monthly. It is for parents, carers and grandparents of children or young people who have an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in Newport.
- Cardiff – Autism Puzzles is based in Whitchurch, Cardiff and support families across South Wales.
- RCT – the RCT Asperger Syndrome Parent Support Group meets monthly. They also have links to other groups in Rhondda Cynon Taf.
- Monmouthshire – ASD Info Wales has info on a group that meets in Monmouthshire.
- Denbighshire – C-Saw provides various services to support parents, carers and individuals with autism and ASD related issues from their office based in Denbigh.
- Gwynedd & Anglesey – The Gwynedd & Anglesey Asperger/Autism Support Group is a forum for parents to discuss issues of concern, and you can find contact details on their Facebook page.
For more local information about parent support groups, you can contact your local FIS – Family Information Service or contact FamilyPoint Cymru directly by email, phone, text or online chat and we’ll help you find what you need.