Communication disorders can often be isolating, and being on your own waiting for improvement to happen can be intensely discouraging. Sometimes the best therapy is what other people with communication disorders can offer – their advice, their empathy, and their unique position being able to understand exactly what you’re going through.
Support groups are not only for people with communication disorders, but their caregivers as well.
Support groups are a great way to meet others who have the same communication disorder as you
Additionally, if there are group therapy options available nearby, these also can often provide much of the same camaraderie as support groups, and you’ll get extra therapy to boot.
Remember that support doesn’t always have to come in the form of face-to-face interaction – you can also find others who have your communication disorder or who are caregivers for persons with the same disorder on the Internet.
There are many options out there. Here are a few places to check to see if a support group exists near you:
- Many universities and colleges that have Speech Pathology programs offer support groups OR group therapy; here is a list of programs from the American Speech, Language, and Hearing Association.
- Check with your local hospital and/or acute rehabilitation centers; ask for the “Rehab” department and then ask to see if they offer a group for your communication disorder (or a similar one!); if you need to ask for a specific clinician, try for speech therapist, occupational therapist, neuropsychologist, or neurologist, though these certainly aren’t the only clinicians who work with persons with communication disorders.
- Do a Google search for “speech therapy for [your communication disorder]” and a keyword or two for your town or city or region – see what comes up and start calling and asking if they have any support groups or group treatment options for your disorder; some private practices have support groups as well.
- For example, if you were living in Newton, MA and had aphasia, you might search “speech therapy for aphasia Newton MA” and “speech therapy for aphasia Boston area”; you can try a few neighboring towns too, and definitely try big cities that are easily drivable for you (remember, this might only meet once a month, so that might expand your travel radius a bit).
- Do an Internet search for your communication disorder and put the word “association” in your search (i.e. “dyslexia association”) – you’ll usually see several groups show up, some international, some national, and some more local; often there will be resources within these sites that are useful for many things, and there may be a support discussion board available.
- Search for your communication disorder on the Internet with the word “blog” – often you’ll find others with your communication disorder who blog, caregivers who blog, or experts in the field who blog; often there are places you can comment and participate in discussions.
- Check Facebook for your specific disorder; search for your communication disorder by itself, and with “support group” in the search. You can try this on other social media sites like Twitter or Pinterest.
Bottom line, having someone to talk to, whether it’s via cyberspace or in person, who has been in your shoes, is invaluable. Reach out today!