It's Good to Talk - by Reach UK
Reach, the UK-based upper limb difference charity, has great support services for its members, who all have upper limb difference. Gary Phillips from the charity explains how they help their young people learn to live and cope with a limb deficiency.
Our Chief Operating Officer recently attended the Trent International Prosthetics Symposium. One of the few conferences to focus only on upper limb difference. An interesting theme throughout the day from various professionals was of the importance of parent to parent and peer to peer support over that of the advice and services of medical professionals.
They said that parents of children with upper limb difference benefited far more from talking and sharing experiences with each other in additional to support offered from people such as Occupational Therapists, and that support charities such as Reach were critical to this. So how does Reach facilitate this parent interaction?
Make Contact with Local Member
A number of our members are prepared to talk to new parents sharing experiences and offering reassurance to them. Our Chief Operating Officer tries, if they wish, to put new parents in touch with other parents who's child has similar limb differences. New parents often find talking through their concerns and fears with someone who has been through it comforting and makes them realise that they are not alone.
Our branches are the local face of Reach. It's often the first time new parents have seen other children with limb difference. Local Branch events give members in the local area a chance to get together, discuss experiences and provide an opportunity for the children to
Our closed Facebook group has been an overwhelming success with now over 250 members subscribed. We decided to go with a closed group to give our members a safe and confidential environment to discuss issues and share experiences. All people asking to join are checked against our membership database. This discussion forum has grown over the last few years and has helped numerous members with all sorts of issues.
The best opportunity for parents to get together has got to be our Family Weekend. Each year about 250 parents, grandparents and related. Adults and about 170 children gather at a hotel somewhere in the UK for the weekend. During this weekend they have the
opportunity to talk to each other, share experiences and socialise. Organised activities include a number of speakers from various field and we usually try to finish off with a member with limb difference talking about their achievements. Many new parents have attended their first weekend saying they were nervous and apprehensive but have left feeling fully confident of the future.
Gary Phillips, Director
Chair of Campaigns & International Relations Committee
Reach Association for Children with Upper Limb Deficiency
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