Thursday, April 8, 2010

Deerfield group offers support 'without judgment'

The woman who started this group, Kristen Scott, contacted me to ask for her group to be put in the community calendar. Right away, I knew there was more of a story to tell. Not only did I get to write my own news story, I found out she was a beautiful writer herself and spent time after our interview teaching her how to start a blog and contribute her columns to TribLocal. Kristen is kind and intelligent, and I hope she finds great success in sharing her story.

By Tara May Tesimu
Chicago Tribune's TribLocal

When Marla Davishoff joined a Deerfield support group for parents of special needs children, she already had plenty of information.

She'd done the research, knew about the treatments and read the books.

She just wanted a place where she could talk about how she felt.

"We're at the group because of who we are, not because of who they are," said Davishoff, a Deerfield mom who belongs to the group. "It's a unique resources. There's lots of resources out there for the kids, and that's essential, but we're trying to deal with all of this, too.

"None of us would trade our children for anything. But we all have dark moments, and this group is a place where we can talk about that without judgment."

The group is celebrating its five-year anniversary in May. It meets at 7:30 p.m. the first and third Tuesday of each month at Christ United Methodist Church, 600 Deerfield Rd., Deerfield.

Kristen Scott, the Deerfield mother of an 18-year-old son with severe autism, started the group in May 2005 after meeting another parent of a newly diagnosed special needs child who was feeling alone.

"I thought I could make use of where I'd come from and the trauma I'd gone through," said Scott, whose then 13-year-old son, Daniel, had already been diagnosed with autism years ago.

Scott said for several years after her son's diagnosis, she lived in a state of denial. She brought her son to his therapy, nodded her head at the doctors and doing everything that needed to be done.

"But in my heart, I just couldn't understand—or accept—that this was going to be forever," Scott said. "That was a journey I had to take on my own time."

Read the full story on Chicago Tribune's TribLocal

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Stories are my passion—and I am an advocate for the new, engaging ways to share and create those stories. I grew up in a small town in Michigan and now live and work in the Chicago area.