Mindfulness can mean anything that helps you slow down and show up for what’s happening in a moment. This video demonstrates how to notice all of the body’s senses on a nature walk. Once it’s familiar, the concept could be useful in any environment, including indoors. Get creative and if it’s developmentally appropriate, you can encourage children to make up their own journey through their senses.
When overwhelm is happening, it’s hard to imagine that getting organized will help. But here’s why it’s worth it: When you feel satisfied that you’ve done something, your brain releases happiness chemicals and hormones. This video provides information about how that works and how families can tap into happy by getting organized and taking time each day to celebrate everyone’s accomplishments.
A Brief Overview
- Parent to Parent (P2P) connects families to trained parent volunteers whose children also have disability conditions and special healthcare needs.
- The Arc of Washington provides a list of P2P coordinators for every county in the state.
- ¿Hablas español? Para más información y hacer referidos, llama a su condado bajo: Coordinadores de Enlace Hispano.
- Washington is part of the P2P USA alliance: p2pusa.org.
Family caregivers for children with disabilities and special healthcare needs may feel isolated or uncertain about where to seek help for their children and themselves. A place for support is Parent to Parent (P2P), a network that connects families to trained parent volunteers who have experienced a similar journey with their own children. In addition to resources and information, parents share personal support and encouragement.
Families new to the disability world can find preliminary information and request help right away by filling out a short form on a website page designed just for them, hosted by The Arc of Washington: Getting Started/Contact Us…Welcome to our World.
The first P2P program started in Nebraska in 1971. Programs started in Washington State in 1980. A national P2P network was established in 2003 to provide technical support to the statewide networks, with a goal to reach all 50 states. P2P USA provides an historical timeline.
Washington has a network of P2P programs that serve every corner of the state. The Arc provides support to the regional programs and links them to national P2P resources. Families can go to arcwa.org to find a list of P2P coordinators, organized by region and listed under the counties served.
¿Hablas español? Para más información y hacer referidos, llama a su condado abajo: Coordinadores de Enlance Hispano.
Families can request a parent match
When reaching out to the local P2P network, families can request a “parent match.” P2P leaders will locate a helping parent volunteer who has a similar lived experience and help the families get connected. From there, a supportive relationship can develop, where empathy, hope, and strength are shared.
Helping Parents cannot provide all answers, but they share insight, solidarity, and role modeling. They also share the joy and pride they’ve experienced while watching their child grow and achieve. A phrase commonly shared is: “I know, and I understand.”
In keeping with evidence-based practices promoted by national and state P2P organizations, the helping parent volunteers are training following a specific process and all personal information is kept confidential.
P2P services are free and include:
- Emotional support for family caregivers of children with special needs
- Referrals for community resources
- Information sharing about disabilities and medical conditions
- Family matching with trained helping parents
- Social and recreational events
- Training for parents who would like to become helping parent volunteers
- Disability awareness and community outreach
Someone to listen and understand
Washington’s statewide P2P is funded by The Arc of Washington State, the Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA), and the Department of Health/Children with Special Health Care Needs. Individual county programs receive funding from host agencies, county DDA offices, the United Way, local grants, private donations, and more.
The Council for Exceptional Children published a research paper about P2P in 1999. Respondents to a national survey reported the following benefits from participating in P2P:
- Someone to listen and understand (66 percent)
- Disability information (63 percent)
- Care for my child (58 percent
- Ways to find services (54 percent)
Statewide, various agencies and family-led organizations host local P2P programs. An interactive map of Washington State provides an easy way to locate information in English and Spanish about a P2P program in your area.
Another way to begin is to contact the statewide P2P coordinator, Tracie Hoppis, by sending an email to: email@example.com.
Starfish are masters at letting turmoil wash around them. They are also excellent models of resilience. This short video uses imagery from the sea and provides a strategy to get grounded, steady the breath, and cultivate four key aspects of resilience: purpose, connection, adaptability, and hope.
Become present and let thinking float away as you treat yourself to this opportunity to take a few minutes to care for yourself.
Even young children can become grounded and calm if breathing with intention is fun and accessible to them. This short video features two young models showing how they give their stuffed animals a ride while they breathe into and out of their tummies.
Have your child choose a comfortable place to lie down and place their stuffed animal on their tummy. Help them to notice what it’s like to breathe and watch the stuffy go up and down. Ask them what it feels like to notice their breathing and their stuffy taking a ride.
Our five-year-old model says, “I loved it and felt like I could fall asleep.”