Online Seeing Things Differently Parent Support Group

Parents of children and youth who are blind or partially sighted are invited to participate in our Online “Seeing Things Differently” Parent Support Group

You have a child with a visual impairment which means life is now different.  On top of typical parenting, you have the added challenge of learning about an unfamiliar diagnosis, trying to understand what your child can or can’t see, and juggling appointments with PTs, OTs, and specialists.

If you are like most parents of a child who is blind or partially sighted, you had not met anybody who was blind before your child was diagnosed.  The Seeing Things Differently Parent Support Group is a place to connect with other parents who have a first-hand understanding of what you are going through.

When: The group will begin on Tuesday January 7, 2020 and will run every Tuesday evening until February 11, 2020 –Jan.  7, 14, 21, 28, and Feb. 4, and 11.

Time: 7:00 – 8:30 PM

Please mark these dates on your calendar.  It is required that you commit to attending all 6 sessions

Who: Parents who are raising a child who is blind or partially sighted

Where: Online. We will use Zoom Conferencing for these meetings.  Zoom is private and confidential and allows you to connect through video and audio from your smart phone or computer.  It is required that you are able to connect in a room that is quiet and private, and you do need to ensure that your device has a working camera.

 Group Facilitators: The group will be facilitated by Shawn Marsolais and Jan Hart; both are registered counsellors and parents.

Shawn Marsolais is a Registered Clinical Counsellor who has been working with children & youth who are blind or partially sighted for over twenty years.  She completed her Masters of Education in Vocational Rehabilitation Counselling in 2012, and has been offering individual counselling and facilitating Parent Support Groups through Blind Beginnings since then.  Shawn was born with a degenerative eye-condition that caused her vision to deteriorate throughout her childhood.  She understands firsthand the challenges families face when coming to terms with a permanent diagnosis.  Shawn also works part-time doing individual counselling in private practice through Denis Boyd & Associates in Coquitlam.

Jan Hart is a Registered Professional Counsellor with 6 years’ experience running her own counselling practice. She sees both individuals and families, has run counselling groups for children with anxiety as well as parent support evenings. She was a public School teacher for twenty years working mainly with elementary age students and also taught art in high school.  One of Jan’s motivations for becoming a counsellor was to assist others in the challenges of parenting.

Registration: We want to prevent all barriers to participating.  If you need childcare in order to attend this group, please let us know and we will do our best to assist.

If you would like to participate in the online “Seeing Things Differently” Parent Support Group, please send an email to: shawn@blindbeginnings.ca or call 604-434-7243 or toll free 1-866-736-8620 no later than Friday January 3.

Please include: your name, a phone number you can be reached at, the name of your child who is visually impaired, and any childcare needs you have during the group meetings.  Once your registration is received, one of the group facilitators will contact you to answer any questions you might have about the group.

Please Note: Space is limited to 8 participants.  Once we are full, registration will be closed.  Registrations will not be accepted after the first group meeting.

If you are interested in the next in-person group, which takes place at our office in New Westminster, please also let us know.  Registration is always open, and we run the group whenever we have a minimum of 6 parents registered.

If you’re still feeling hesitant, check out some quotes from past participants:

“I’d highly recommend this group 1000%!! It’s a safe, caring and welcoming environment, where I
felt comfortable to share personal experiences with relation to my child without being judged or given pity. It was beyond what I expected in terms of connecting with parents who we actually will continue to remain in contact and hopefully have our children grow up together.”

“I’ve learned so much. I went from being skeptical about group counselling to looking forward to going every Tuesday.”

“The care and compassion you showed us carried us through. You set the container for deep supported conversation which takes a ton of skill. Thank you. You have changed our lives. Shone so much light in the darkness and we are so grateful that Blind Beginnings is here to support our family and our new friends.”