“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller
What is a SIPN Local Group?
A SIPN Local Group is a group of parents at their local school interested in supporting each other by sharing information, experiences and insights about inclusion and making it happen at their school and connecting to other school-based local parent groups in the SIPN School Inclusion Parent Network.
Many parents of students with disability or diverse learning needs naturally develop relationships with other parents in their school community that they feel have some understanding of their family experience or the challenges of ensuring their child is supported and included.
A SIPN Local Group is really just a “school wide” way of bringing together these parents in a group, whether as a monthly coffee group, a closed Facebook group or as a more formal group or even legal entity, such as an incorporated association.
What is involved in setting up a SIPN Local Group?
How a SIPN Local Group is established and how it works will depend upon what you and the other parents at your local school think will work best. A good starting point is just organising a regular coffee meeting or a wine and cheese night and staying in contact on a closed Facebook Group (see our instructions for “Creating a Facebook Group for your Local SIPN“). Your school can help the group reach out to interested parents (e.g. through the school newsletter or e-mail database).
Over time for continuity of the group, a more structured approach (e.g. establishing a committee to oversee the group’s activities and any budget) may be better as the children of the organising parents graduate from your school.
Please contact us on the form below for more information about setting up a SIPN Local Group and joining our network. We look forward to welcoming you!
The benefits of setting up a SIPN Local Group
As a parent, trying to ensure that your child is welcomed and supported at your local school can be daunting and feel isolating. Your stress may be compounded by trying to understand a school environment that may be struggling to include your child.
Many parents say that they just don’t know what “inclusion” of their child should look like – but they don’t feel like their child is being “included” – that things could be better. The result is often years of constant challenges, disappointment and frustration – at the emotional expense of everyone, and especially your child.
Children, parents and schools benefit from having a SIPN Local Group at their school.
A SIPN Local Group can be invaluable by:
- reducing the feeling of parental isolation by providing a support contact point for new parents to the school or parents encountering challenges in the course of their child’s schooling;
- providing a regular forum for peer support;
- connecting parents more experienced in the schooling journey to mentor and support less experienced parents;
- providing more structured access to information, experiences and insights into school inclusion and best practices, including through sharing useful information and materials and organising skills training sessions (e.g. IEP or personal planning training) and presentations (including for the broader school and parental community); and
- providing the school with a two-way parental communication channel on broader matters relating to the inclusion of students with disability and diverse needs.
You can contact us on the form below or at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out if there is a SIPN Local Group at your child’s school or for information about the benefits of starting one or joining an existing local school group to our network.