What is the program in a nutshell?
It’s primarily a way to gather and share information and resources with WBG families of children and/or parents with disabilities, in HQ and country office (CO) locations.
What is a “disability”?
Some examples are: a newborn baby with spina bifida, a toddler on the autism spectrum, a child with severe ADHD, a teenager with substance abuse issues, a young adult with depression, someone who has chronic injuries from an accident or who has a debilitating illness, or a parent with Alzheimer’s. *
Suppose I have a child with ADHD and I have just arrived in Washington DC. How will the program help me?
If you have just relocated to Washington DC, we can put you in contact with families who have been dealing with this issue. What physicians do they use? Can they recommend a school program? Did they get any funding? How did they handle standardized testing? Do they attend a support group? Can they recommend a tutor? What can they expect from physicians regarding medication?
So, it’s a network of families sharing information?
It’s that and more. One of our team members is a national coordinator of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and also a parent of a child with a disability. The ADA is a US civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life. This team member will give seminars on the purpose of the law, which is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.
Our second team member is a psychologist, and also a parent of a child with a disability. She is putting together a database of resources, so we will be centralizing as much information as possible. But putting families in touch with each other is central to our mandate.
Does the program have any other goals?
Yes, we hope to hold information seminars here in Washington DC. Another goal is to raise awareness in the wider WBG community of the challenges and needs of families dealing with someone with a disability.
What about support groups?
We are very interested in building up this kind of resource. Looking after someone with a disability can be exhausting, worrying, and isolating. We would like to provide a space for families to get together and share their burdens and concerns with each other.
How will families in country offices benefit?
We want to extend the program to our WBFN families in every country office. We will be contacting members in CO’s to join the program. That way, if you are considering a move to a certain CO and you have a child with a disability, we can put you in touch with families there who might have prior relevant experience. We will also be inviting our members in country offices to join the support groups using Skype.
Why do you think the WBG community needs this? Can’t they just use Internet resources?
Imagine you arrive in Washington DC and you have all the usual challenges of settling in plus you have a child or parent with a disability and you have no idea how to find services to meet their needs? Looking on the Internet will give you a lot of information, but you may not have the language skills or knowledge of the medical and local resources to properly evaluate it. We will be putting you directly in touch with people who have been there before you and have knowledge and experience. We have been doing this by word of mouth for decades, but now we are creating a formal system of support for those people in our global community who are in need of help.
Has the program been launched?
February 2019 is our launch month. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
* The Americans with Disabilities Act defines a disability as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. For more information, see the ADA website by clicking here