West Virginia Church Offers Special Needs Support
By Melissa Pratt
John and Jane Kincaid know firsthand the challenges people face when caring for a person with special needs. The couple’s experiences with one of their grown children has been the inspiration for the start of a new support group at Teays Valley Church of God in Scott Depot, West Virginia.
Many resources, both public and private, are available for children and older adults with special needs. However, most caregivers for these precious children and adults find themselves alone to face the challenges involved in providing quality care. The challenges include not only the daily care for their child or adult but also the struggle to work with the various doctors, school programs, and maze of social agencies and government programs to get the aid and assistance they critically need.
There are big issues to face, but sometimes simply scheduling a quiet evening out with your spouse, or finding someone to tend to your child or adult while you attend a funeral, can be a major undertaking. The Special Needs Caregiver Support Group’s mission is to help the caregiver so that they may be in a better position to help their child or adult in need. This group provides a monthly opportunity to share ideas, lend emotional support, and highlight useful informal and formal information not only from professionals but also from caregivers who have “been there and done that.”
“John and Jane are people who are generously sharing what they have learned over the years,” commented the church’s pastor, Dr. Melissa Pratt. “They are offering what they wished they would have had themselves. Because John and Jane walked in the shoes of those who are attending, their encouragement is like a drink of cold water to many who have been thirsty for help for years.” The group has only been in existence a few months, but the attendance from persons in the community is quickly growing. “All it takes to reach people is a willingness to share where we have been and what we know,” said Dr. Pratt. “Because of John and Jane’s willingness to share their story, we now have relationships with several new families in our community with whom we can share Jesus.”