Parents at a camp picnicSupport Group

It is no secret to parents raising a child with disabilities — whether physical, developmental or emotional — that a critical, often unfilled need is support for themselves and their family as a whole.

“Liked hearing about other concerns from other parents; didn’t feel quite so isolated afterwards. It provided different strategies and already in use strategies to be utilized in a different fashion.”

Led by Licensed Clinical Social Worker Larry Smith, Camp Attaway’s Parent Support Group extends the therapeutic benefits of the Camp program into families’ homes. Larry combines clinical lectures with skills-training and support for campers’ parents, guardians and siblings. The result is a better educated family with the competence and confidence needed to help their children succeed. Parents learn about neuropsychology, emotional regulation and a variety mental health topics tailored to their children’s needs. They learn and practice positive discipline skills, including verbal and nonverbal communication, setting and holding boundaries, and exercising authority vs. control. Perhaps the greatest benefit of the group is the fellowship and peer support it offers to families, who describe powerful experiences of isolation, guilt and shame over their children’s struggles. This unique psycho-educational support group is frequently cited as the greatest and most unexpected gift that Camp Attaway provides to families each summer.

“Larry is outstanding—his sessions are to parents what Attaway is to our kids! Useful, supportive and informative. This experience wouldn’t be as rich without both exceptional elements.”