Support groups help individuals deal with change, personal experience and the grief of everyday emotions. Individuals with disabilities need support therapy in order to learn they are not alone and that the intense feelings they experience are normal. The roles of care givers must be to recognize that individuals with disabilities have the right to exercise the ability to make decisions in every aspect of their lives.

However, as in all projects, challenges and obstacles are the norm. Participants may feel uncomfortable with opening up in the group therefore sometimes a staff presence may make the person feel more comfortable. Emotional outbursts, non-compliance, disrespect are all common adjustment factors in support groups. Another adjustment factor is attendance in which a participant may refuse to come to meetings depending on their moods. It is very common that an individual may come to the first meeting then never show up again but it is not anything for the facilitator to become discouraged about. Typically, immediate breakthroughs for any individual may take weeks, months or even a year to confront their issue or find out the approach they were using is wrong. Facilitators must emphasize that support groups are not "cure all" interventions. Like most interventions, effectiveness is measured inside the group and outside in the environment.

There are many things a facilitator should expect but in order for the group to be successful, every facet must be consistent. Consistency is a very important part in counseling or behavior therapy techniques. Often times, individuals feel more comfortable with an activity when they are able to look forward to it. There are other things that may be consistent in an individual with disabilities life such as day programming, medical appointments or medication administration. However, support groups are strictly voluntary which can be exciting because it represents a change or a growth in a person's life. It is very important that the support group facilitator remain consistent with the frequency of the meetings to provide positive results.

Whether results are positive or negative, it is also important to keep control of the group. Sometimes when a person comes to a meeting, seminar or conference, they come to hear others talk. Subsequently, when the speaker does not engage the participants, the speaker ends up doing all the talking. To avoid doing all the talking, an easy approach would be to teach rather than listen. Each topic in each meeting should be considered a lesson that you are teaching your individuals. Rather than "teaching by telling", the facilitator can start the topic by asking the group a question, which leads to the topic and discussion. It encourages the individuals to think out the facts or concepts themselves. Another way for the group to learn is through scenarios and role playing. Group activities allow the individuals to review what they learn, focus on key points and identify coping techniques. Another benefit is to have an expert speak to the group to give his/her perspective on a specific topic. Many guest speakers bring different styles which add to significance of the group.

The goal of a support group is for the participants to become part of a collective voice. Supports groups should be constructed to be non-judgmental. The group should create a safe environment for members to disclose their problems. By discussing their problems, the individuals become better informed which enables them to make right decisions. Conversely, better decision making reduces anxiety and stress. Supports groups build confidence for coping and participants become more equipped to analyze situations. The groups also improve communication with family members, staff and peers.

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