Challenged Hope

Grandmother raising Grandchildren with FASD in Hamilton Ontario Canada

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Parenting Support

Recently, to pass the time while in a waiting area at Chedoke Hospital, Hamilton, Ontario, I browsed the brochure rack for any information regarding services that might help me better raise my mentally disabled grandchildren. One I spied was a leaflet that promoted parenting support in Hamilton, Ontario.

As the leaflet says…. Parenting is not always easy. It then asks what choice you would make if your child was upset and crying: Ignore, Get Mad, or Cuddle? There was a check mark in the Cuddle box. It also explained that your relationship with your child is very important. How you respond to your child makes a difference in your child’s behaviour, what your child learns and how your child feels about themselves.

It also reminds us that… Positive parenting is responding to your child in a sensitive way. To respond in a sensitive way, look at your child’s cues. Cues are signals that tell you what your child needs. Some examples of cues are smiling, turning away or crying.

Responding sensitively to your child’s cues helps:

  • Create a safe and loving environment
  • Build a strong relationship with your child
  • Your child feel good about themselves
  • Your child learn to get along with others

To use a positive parenting approach, it is important for you to:

  • Understand what is normal for your child
  • Look at your child and their surroundings
  • Respond sensitively to your child
  • Grow as a parent… you are learning too!

This reads as a great support service for parents of both non-disabled and disabled children, so if you live in Hamilton, Ontario, or its surrounding areas and would like more information visit to find answers to many parenting questions, or call Health Connections at 905-546-3550.

Another parenting support program servicing Hamilton, Ontario and surrounding areas is: Right From The Start – An attachment course for parents of babies under two. Its flyer explainsRight From The Start is an 8-session course that uses video clips, problem solving discussions and skill-building exercises. Group leaders, who are child development professionals, guide parents using methods shown to be effective in reducing parenting stress, and improving parent-child relationships. Parents work together on solutions to parenting challenges, share ideas, and explore the many faces of parenting.

To know if the program is right for you, the flyer asks:

  • Are you unsure of your parenting skills?
  • Does parenting make you feel anxious?
  • Would you like to avoid or change parenting styles that were practiced when you were a child?
  • Does your child have special medical and/or developmental needs?
  • Is your child fussy?
  • Do you want to feel more comfortable with your baby?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions and you have a baby under two, then Right From The Start is right for you. Right From the Start is a free service. To register or for information, call 905-521-2100 ext. 77418.

Ontario has also recognized the age of eighteen months as a milestone in a child’s development and encourages parents to visit their family physician or other health care provider at that time in order to discuss their child’s development. During the appointment, parents are provided with a development checklist and information on typical stages of child development. The checklist can be located at and is free to access. This visit can lead to early identification of developmental concerns and a referral to specialized community services for the child. This eighteen month discussion with your health care provider is called the “Enhanced 18-Month Well-Baby Visit”.

When I discovered this service through a leaflet displayed at my local library, I was very excited as this program is long overdue and one that would have helped my mentally disabled daughter, and my mentally disabled grandchildren be identified with developmental concerns long before they actually were.