Yvonne shares how being part of the KIDS Camden Special Parents Forum has helped her come out of depression and how she was supported during the pandemic.

“My story begins in November 2019 when I was preparing for my child’s formal education, and looking for some information about SEND in primary schools. I heard of KIDS Camden Special Parents Forum (SPF) before from an Early Birds Programme I participated in. I wish I had reached out to them earlier. My child was diagnosed with autism when he was 3, and since then I tried my best to learn how to help his development. It was not easy, and I felt very lonely.

I was so depressed that I had to see psychologist for help. The online consultation wasn’t useful. I sent the forum private messages on Facebook, and got replies from Maria and Rachel from KIDS. Then I started to join the coffee mornings to meet other parents who have children with special needs. That was the turning point in my life. I mean – it saved my life.

For the first time, I could be so open about my son’s situation and I heard people sharing many similar experiences. I should have said that my husband refused to accept that our child is autistic, and he is still in denial. He does not want people to know, so it was a secret I kept for more than a year. KIDS SPF has opened a window for me and allowed me to breathe.

I attended Yoga and Lunch and also Walk and Talk regularly as part of the SPF. The newsletters offered lots of information that I did not know about, such as webinars, workshops, cycle for all abilities (Peddle Power), free relaxed mornings at museums, autism friendly cinema, just to name a few. Both are great social networking and supportive activities.

This is my remedy. I came out of the depression thanks to the lovely people I met through the forum.

During the lockdown, the coffee mornings were via zoom meeting. For a while, walk and talk became talk online. I am happy to see some familiar faces, and talked about how we coped, or not be able to cope. I appreciate that I am heard and I am happy to listen to others. The coffee mornings keep on upgrading. Sometimes there are experts who joined the zoom meetings, and now it even turned parents to be the experts!

I am sad that I have to move to Scotland soon, but I will keep in touch.”