Gathering helps family networks conquer ADHD concerns|
by Rebecca Burylo
42nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs
1/17/2014 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, AL -- Families are invited from 1-3 p.m. Jan. 25 to the Airman and Family Readiness Center from 1-3 p.m. Jan. 25 for food and fellowship as parents with children struggling with special needs come to learn and lean on each other.
Networking with families has helped Master Sgt. Erin Panas and other parents understand the needs of their children struggling with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, and other behavioral issues.
"It helps us parents know that we aren't alone. It starts to make us comfortable talking about ADHD, Asperger's Syndrome and the different things that our kids are going through," Panas said. "It makes us unafraid to ask questions."
Coming together to overcome a shared struggle also comforts the children in knowing they are not alone in their battles, she added. Children diagnosed with ADHD experience an abnormally high level of inattentiveness, over activity, impulsiveness, anxiety or stress. They may struggle to pay attention in school or finish homework, are easily distracted, find it difficult to remain still or are prone to fidgeting and excessive outbursts.
After her son was diagnosed with ADHD, Panas began meeting with other parents during lunch under the support of the Airman and Family Readiness Center more than a year ago to
find answers. Today, there are 14 families who contribute to the support of the group, sharing parenting techniques, finding psychiatrists and giving encouragement. The gathering is a way to officially invite more families to the group and present them with a panel of experts, seasoned parents and success stories.
Organizations like the Alabama Parent Education Center, Specialized Training for Military Parents, or STOMP, Educational and Developmental Intervention Services, or EDIS, and Maxwell's Military Family and Life consultant will be present with information and to answer questions.
Experts will continue speak to the group monthly through coordination with Sonya Stallworth, AFRC's personal work and life consultant. "We provide resources for the group; we're the support for the group, whatever it is. Advertisements, marketing, we're just the backbone," Stallworth said. "We support what they want for their group."
Families are encouraged to bring their favorite appetizer to share in the potluck meal. There will be an area of crafts and games for the children to enjoy as well. Regular meetings will be held at noon every first Wednesday of the month, alternating locations between the Gunter Community Library and the AFRC on Maxwell.
Topics covered are chosen by the parents. For information, call Stallworth at 953-2352 or Panas at 416-4309.