In my twenties, if you had asked me what a social worker did I probably would have shrugged. I had never needed a social worker, and had only a vague notion of what they did.
Fast forward 20 years, and social workers are a crucial part of my life as a parent of children with disabilities. Over the years our social workers have…
- Completed pre-adoption assessment of our home and family.
- Helped us complete the vast paperwork it took to complete the adoption.
- Placed my son into my arms for the first time.
- Followed up with us for months to ensure that he was assimilating into our family and that we had the support we needed to add this child to our home.
- Set us up with Children Special Health Care Services when he was diagnosed with hearing impairment.
- Held my hand when he was diagnosed with leukemia.
- Took on much of the paperwork and served as an interpreter for our son’s medical team to make sure we understood his medical situation in plain terms.
- Referred us to Make-A-Wish to give us hope in dark times.
- Explained a mistake the medical team had made and served as a mediator to make sure our interests were represented.
- Got us set up with home health equipment many times over.
- Referred us to a charity which provided a complete Christmas package for our family the year my husband was off work for 9 months with a spinal fusion.
- Got us a grant for furnace repair.
- Checked in on us religiously during our son’s clinic visit.
- Listened to us for hours, like we were the only people she had on her schedule that day.
- Told us some hard truths in a soft, gentle way that we could manage to hear.
- Referred us for out-of-state medical care.
- Helped my son with autism learn social skills at school.
- Worked with us to develop a behavior plan.
- Double checked that my son’s injury story was legitimate.
- Set up outings for families like ours to have a safe place to socialize.
…And so much more! Every step of the way, social workers have helped us meet the challenges of parenting children with developmental, medical and behavioral needs. They secure needed resources, and most importantly, are a steady hand on a rocky path. They seamlessly tie together all the loose ends that families like ours have, and lend us their strength when ours wanes. Social workers are largely anonymous, never seeking the limelight, but quietly serving the most vulnerable members of society. They deserve our recognition, thanks and admiration!