Monday, July 15, 2013

With A Little Help From My Friends

Pervasive Parenting

By Kodey Toney

With A Little Help From My Friends

Last week I wrote about some information I received at a conference that I attended recently. What I mentioned, but didn’t go into detail on, is that this conference was sponsored by the Oklahoma Parents Center. You see, as I’ve said before, one of my main goals is to provide information on resources available in this area. Since we are in a rural part of the state, and hours away from Tulsa and Oklahoma City, there are limited resources. I feel that it is my duty to try and inform others of the organizations that can help. The following are two of those groups.

The Oklahoma Parents Center is a good example. The conference that they held was overflowing with information and other resources that I would like to hit on in the near future.

So what is the Oklahoma Parents Center? Under IDEA, the US Department of Education established funding for more than 100 centers throughout the United States.

According to the website:,The Oklahoma Parents Center is the statewide parent training and information (PTI) center serving parents of children with disabilities. Our goal is to educate and support parents, families and professionals in building partnerships that meet the needs of children and youth with the full range of disabilities ages’ birth to 26. We are a regionalized model with staff living in the area that they serve.”

So why would you need the OPC? They can help with certain things such as understanding IDEA, IEPs, 504s, etc. They help with navigating the troubled waters of the education system.They understand that not all children have the education they deserve and will work to achieve that goal.

I also attended a conference with the Oklahoma Family Network that was great. This group also works throughout the state to help families of people with disabilities.

According to the OFN website:, “The Oklahoma Family Network (OFN) Family-to-Family Health Information Centerinforms and connects individuals with special health care needs and disabilities, their families and professionals to services and supports in their communities. OFN provides opportunities for individuals and families to strengthen their communities through leadership development and volunteering. The OFN Mentorship Program is the flagship program of the center.”

The site also states that they can provide parents with Parent-to-Parent Support. According to the site this is:

For those carrying a child with a medical issue, a disability or may be premature
For those parenting a child in a Neonatal or PediatricIntensive Care Unit or a graduate thereof
For those parenting a child with special health care needs or disabilities
For those parenting a child diagnosed with cancer
For those pregnant with a child who may have an early birth, a disability or a fatal diagnosis
For those who have experienced the loss of a child with special needs

They also have information on Support Groups:

For those raising a child with special needs or a disability
For those raising a child with a rare or undiagnosed disorder
For Siblings of children with special needs or a disability
Navigation to support groups for those raising children with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Cystic Fibrosis, Down Syndrome, Mental Health Diagnoses, etc.

You see I feel that educating yourself on what is available for you and your child is the most important thing you can do. I often gear this column toward autism, but I had friend tell me once that if you really want to educate yourself look at all disabilities. You have to get outside of your comfort zone, and you might learn that other disabilities are going through the same thing, or have been through it and have answers you are looking for. This is why I have tried to branch out lately to other developmental disabilities. I think Partners in Policymaking has helped me think outside the box on this one.

I’ve also started to establish a center that does just that in this area. The Pervasive Parenting Center is just in the planning stages, but I hope to bring you more information about this in the near future.

Both of these organizations, the OFN and OPC, along with the Pervasive Parenting Center can help with any disability. Allhave Facebook pages. If you need more information on any of these please contact me at

Disclaimer: I am in no way claiming to be an expert. I’m just a father who is trying to learn as much about Autism as I can to help my child. I hope that you all can learn from me, and I from you. I ask anyone who has questions or comments about something I have written, or autism, please contact me at I will try to answer questions as I have time, and if I find it interesting enough I may touch on it in my column. You can also find all columns archived at


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