“Seeing Things Differently” Parent Support Group

Last chance to register for the “Seeing Things Differently” Parent Support Group. There are still a few places left!

Parents of children and youth who are blind or partially sighted are invited to participate in our “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 PT’s, OT’s, 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 October 8, 2019 and will run every Tuesday evening until November 12.

Time: 7:00 – 8:30 P.M.
* 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: All 6 sessions will take place at the Blind Beginnings office –227 6th Street New Westminster V3L 3A5

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 and 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 “Seeing Things Differently” Parent Support Group, please send an email to: shawn@blindbeginnings.ca or call 604-434-7243.

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 live outside Metro-Vancouver and are interested in an online version of this group, please also let us know. We are planning to offer this group online as soon as we have enough parents who have expressed an interest.

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

“… it helps to hear from other people going through the same ordeal. That way you don’t feel singled out or alone. It was also helpful to hear about other families with children that went blind due to cancer as I thought we must be the only family but we are not – this means others have had to go through this and they have done so successfully. This gives you hope.”

“It was a great pleasure to meet with other parents facing the same challenge. We learned a lot from each other and it helped us to plan our future and to overcome immediate hardship.”

“I enjoyed sharing stories and experiences with parents. I feel comfortable to be myself and talk about feelings with others coming from [a] similar background.”

“The group is very meaningful and helpful for parents of kids with visual impairments. We developed a strong sense of belonging to the group after the sessions.”