Supporting Parents of Children with Disabilities
If you’re a mum, dad, grandparent or anyone caring for a child up to the age of 16 years with a disability, developmental delay or chronic medical condition, then MyTime is a wonderful program designed to help and support you.
Over the past seven years, Playgroup Queensland, the lead agency for MyTime in this state, has been responsible for establishing 32 MyTime groups. This program is a major achievement in helping families and the community raise, healthy happy children and is the first nationally-funded program of its kind in the world.
MyTime is unique because it is focused on the carer. It gives them time to look after their own needs, build confidence and form friendships and is a place for both giving and receiving.These peer support groups provide the opportunity to socialise, share ideas and information with others who understand the rewards and intensity of caring for a child with special needs.
The MyTime program also has a strong parent education component. It is intended that the program will build skills, foster shared responsibilities and strengthen the capacity of the whole community to support parents of children with disabilities. The Parenting Research Centre is the national coordinator of MyTime on behalf of the Australian Government Department of Social Services.
What will happen at a MyTime Group?
Facilitators who are highly skilled in ensuring that parents lead the session will guide and support each group. They will assist setting up the group, bring parents together and help them choose topics and activities to discuss and encourage them to support one another.
Each group is offered 64 hours per year of facilitated support while young children are cared for by a play helper. Groups usually meet every two weeks for two hours during school terms. A powerful component of MyTime is the building of networks and this benefit is what distinguishes MyTime against most other programs, yet still compliments other services that MyTime families attend. Through attending a MyTime program, parents help other parents to learn more about the range of services in their local area.
Another key advantage is encouraging participants to have fun so many different activities are organised for the groups including: family fun days, pampering and massage, movie outings, and coffee and chat sessions. Every care is taken to give parents and carers the opportunity to build relations and reduce feelings of isolation.Play helpers keep young children, including under school aged siblings, busy and active in activities such as singing, drawing, playing with toys, blocks or sand so members can spend time catching up with one another. Play helpers have skills in leading children’s play activities; however, they may not be qualified child care workers.
There is no cost to join a MyTime group.
Where are MyTime Groups located and how can my organisation find out more?
If your organisation would like to discuss a MyTime partnership with Playgroup Queensland, please contact us on 1800 171 882 or by email.