The Grandparent to Grandparent Program reflects PACER's mission to improve and expand opportunities that enhance the quality of life for children and young adults with disabilities and their families. While there are services in the community to meet the needs of children and parents, the grandparents are often an underserved population. PACER Center recognizes that a grandparent's life is impacted by the birth of a child with a disability.
Grandparents can influence a family's adjustment as well. They are often called upon to provide support to the entire family. They serve many purposes for a child that no parent can fulfill, and they can lend both generations the strength and love of the extended family. To be effective supporters, grandparents must first have their own needs and concerns addressed. Grandparents have the potential to be each other's best resources.
The Goals of the Grandparent-to-Grandparent Program are:
- To support, inform and empower grandparents to act as effective advocates for their grandchildren with special needs.
- To meet other grandparents of children with special needs and share joy, concerns, grief, and common interests.
- To learn helpful strategies that enable grandparents to be helpful to their children and families, and to encourage communication between generations.
- To provide support, both physical and emotional, to our children - the parents of children with disabilities, thus enhancing the grandparenting role.
- To learn about resources available for children with disabilities and families.
Through a variety of resources, the PACER Center Grandparent-to-Grandparent Program becomes a vital link to families. Some of the services available include:
Grandparents meet as a group to share concerns and to learn about their grandchild's special needs. The support groups offer grandparents opportunities to discuss the impact of the child's disability on the entire family, and to obtain up-to-date information about the child's special problems and needs. Most importantly, grandparents have a chance to meet other grandparents who share their concerns.
Phone Support for Minnesota Grandparents
Experienced grandparents are available to offer support to other grandparents through a phone support program. These volunteer grandparents understand what it is like to have a grandchild with special needs; including the emotions following a diagnosis or when facing difficult challenges. Grandparents who would like to be matched with a trained grandparent can contact PACER Center.
Articles on the Grandparent to Grandparent program appear in the PACESETTER and the Early Childhood Connection newsletters. The articles serve as a source of information on topics of interest to grandparents, and as a forum for sharing grandparent concerns.