Reaching Out for Support for Families with Disabilities

By: A.J. Hilton Email
By: A.J. Hilton Email

Karen Richardson was just one of a handful of trainees who were at the LAP Respite Center. The center provides services for families that have children with disabilities.

"It's okay to ask," says Richardson, who works with special education students during the school year. "I think it's really important that people know that there are people care, there's facilities like LAP. I love children, and special needs kids are wonderful to work with. It's very rewarding."

It's difficult to ask people how they'll feel caring for a special needs child, says LAP Executive Director Judy Wagner. Of all people, Wagner would understand. Her 43-year old daughter has down syndrome, and says sometimes parents just need an extra hand.

"Having a break now and then does relieve some of that care providing pressure," said Wagner. "It's very very necessary to build it in as a part of a family's whole life."

Wagner says there's a lack of respite training in rural areas, which is exactly why the LAP Respite Center has hosted more training this year.

"Knowledge of respite care is not known in all circles," Wagner added.

Even with more trainees, the non-profit organization says they can't reach out and help families prevent tragedies like Wednesday's murder-suicide until people know they can call someone for help.


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