Workshop offered to parents of special needs children

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Editor’s note: The story as originally published, stated the incorrect date for the workshop. The story below has been corrected,

NATCHEZ — Rearing children naturally has its stressful moments, but rearing a child with special needs can be especially emotionally and physically draining.

A Thursday workshop will teach parents how to deal with stress and learn to relax, which ultimately makes parents better caregivers, Sunshine Shelter Executive Director Matilda Stephens said.

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Alethia Lawrence, a program coordinator from Families First in Natchez, will present the workshop at 6 p.m. at Kyle’s House.

“For parents of children with special needs, stress (can be) much more intense,” Stephens said.

Although the workshop is geared toward parents of children with special needs, it is open to the entire public, Stephens said.

The workshop is the first in a series at Kyle’s House geared toward support services for parents of children with special needs, Stephens said.

Offering resources and support to families has always been Kyle’s House intent she said.

“We felt the need for day care, but (Kyle’s House) was always so that we could develop support services for parents,” Stephens said.

“That has been a goal from the first day program opened.”

She said services in the series will also include classes given by experts on issues such as health and wellness and disability benefits.

Providing a venue to parents of children with special needs to meet each other and share resources will also be incorporated to future programs, Stephens said.

Stress and relaxation was a good staring point, Stephens said.

“You can’t be a good caregiver without taking care yourself, so we decided to tackle (stress) first.”

At least one day care employee will be available to watch children during the workshop, which will last approximately one hour and a half, Stephens said.

Those who plan to attend should call the Sunshine Shelter at 601-445-5223.

Kyle’s House was established in 2008 as a day care and support service provider for all families and especially those with special needs.