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2023: 1st Caregivers Meet

Updated: Aug 11, 2023

A report on the meet held on 8 January 2023 by Aman Batish, Co-founder Manas Mitra

 

Manas Mitra organized the 1st Caregiver meet of the year 2023 for parents of children with developmental disorders like Autism, Down Syndrome etc. on January 8 at its Centre for Specially-abled children.

The main agenda for the meet included:

  1. Discussion on setting up an Adolescent Activity Centre for children with developmental disorders who have crossed school going age

  2. Discussion on Caregiver stress management in perspective of Modern Psychology & Bhagavad Gita

Adolescent Activity Centre

The participants discussed the problems of Adolescents with developmental disorders, the issues faced by parents/caregivers in the process of caregiving and the possible solutions. Contemporary scientific research findings were discussed which pointed these children had similar needs as other children of the same age.

The key concerns highlighted in the discussion included:

  1. The need and desire for adolescents to be self-dependent

  2. The bottlenecks and constraints faced in the efforts in achieving self-dependence

Both the parents and the children wished to be self-dependent. However, the major constraint for parents was uncertainty about the capability of their child. The major constraint for children was lack of exposure and experience in facing real-life situations independently.

These concerns are in line with the findings of scientific research also. Other concerns included lack of avenues for adolescents for productive engagement and lack of trained human resource for various services.

The suggested solutions included:

  1. Giving more opportunities to children to do things independently in a secure environment under observation to ensure their safety.

  2. Organising planned excursions/trips with children for this purpose.

Setting up locally accessible Adolescents’ Activity Centers that are easily approachable for families.

  1. Forming self-help groups so that parents can themselves become resource persons to counter the lack of human resource.

  2. Long-term objective of setting up self-help residential communities -Apartment-based Group Housing or Farm-based communities where families can stay together with facilities for assisted living.

Actionable outcome (for immediate action) : Planned trip with children to be organised as soon as possible

Caregiver stress management

A talk on caregiver stress management with references from modern psychology and the Bhagavad Gita was delivered by Sh. Dhananjay Kumar (Dharmaraj Das), Co-founder Manas Mitra. The talk highlighted the importance of mental health for caregivers. It cited scientific research to show how mental distress can ultimately manifest into physical distress and how caregiver stress ultimately leads to poor care of the dependent. Coping strategies, and solutions from the Bhagavad Gita were discussed.

Parents discussed their specific issues like their individual triggers of stress (common stressful situations) in the ensuing discussion. The efficacy of Positive Religious Coping (PRC) or Spirituality based strategies for coping with stress were discussed. Discussing and sharing problems with peers and venting out was also identified as a useful measure. In this context, creating opportunities for parents to meet each other was suggested. Possibility of online meet was also considered.

The need for a two-pronged approach of a) reducing the number of stressors and b) increasing resilience or capacity to bear stress was also discussed.

Actionable outcome (for immediate action) : More parent meets to be organised in the future (physical or online mode)

The participants agreed to work together on the actionable outcomes and to meet again in the near future.

Refreshments and lunch were served to the participants.

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