Texas Network Connections
Texas Parent to Parent has developed a new program, Texas Network Connections, that assists families to create a personal network for their child. We are very excited about finally having a concrete way to help families perpetuate their love and advocacy for their children with disabilities or special health care needs beyond their lifetime. We believe that personal networks will help countless Texas families build enriched lives for their children with disabilities, now and in the future. Unlike most TxP2P programs, there is a fee for this service. Here is a Video on Personal Networks.
Why start a personal support network?
- to make sure that our child with a disability has a good life
- to make sure that the plans we have arranged for our child are implemented and functioning well
- to make sure our child is not lonely, isolated, neglected or abused
- to give friends and family an opportunity to have fulfilling relationships with our child
- to assist with Supported Decision Making
- to help parents let go and to help our children form new relationships
How does TxP2P and Texas Network Connections help?
- Help identify potential network members
- Organize and facilitate network meetings
- Connect networks with each other through listserves and annual gatherings
- Help networks become self-sustaining
What are families saying about networks?
- Taking these first steps of starting a network leaves me feeling hopeful that we can build a strong community of support for my daughter
- I know that this network will be such an important and special part of my sister’s life, and I look forward to future meetings and all that is to come!
- Meeting with the network has put a dent in my skepticism
- Over time, I see network members becoming more vested in my son’s future
What does a network cost? Texas Network Connections will recruit and train facilitators, who, for a flat fee, will assist the family to start up a network. Our Facilitator will visit with a family to assess needs and wishes, identify potential network members, set up and facilitate the invitational meeting and then facilitate the next two network meetings. At this point, we hope the network is well launched, but for an hourly fee, our facilitator can arrange to facilitate future meetings or be available as a network resource. Our facilitators will also “reboot” inactive or ineffective networks.
Why is TxP2P charging for this service? Unlike other Texas Parent to Parent programs, Texas Network Connections will be offered for a fee. Charging a fee for this program enables us to hire and train network facilitators. We have found that networks are most successful if families are assisted by an outside facilitator at the early phases of network development. It is our intention that the funds raised from this program will also help to support TxP2P’s groundbreaking Pathways to Adulthood (PTA) program.
What do network members have to say about joining a personal network?
- It’s a great way to put our minds together and think about someone we all care about
- It’s given me a really clear way to be a part of his life and support his family
- I wanted to support my best friend with her younger brother
- We always know there’s going to be a group of people there for her
- It felt like an honor to be asked to be included in the network
- I like having a defined role in how I can support him
Personal networks provide a structure of on-going support for a person with a disability, during the course of that person’s life and even after their parents are no longer able to care for them. Personal networks create a circle of friends and family around a person with a disability to expand the number of people who care about him or her. Personal networks also help people with disabilities explore their interests and abilities so they can enjoy them with other people.
Here is a How-to for creating networks of support, written by a TXP2P volunteer; also TXP2P staff can give you advice by phone or email on creating your own network
Here are other resources for creating networks and an article from mainstream media on how a family opens up their home to new friendships.
The model for personal networks and the book A Good Life come from PLAN (Planned Lifetime Advocacy), a parent organization in Vancouver. Go to plan.ca to learn more about PLAN and to order A Good Life or try buying a used copy at Amazon.com.
For more information about Texas Network Connections, fees and services, contact PTA@txp2p.org