My name is Jackie Artim and I have been a peer supporter for Parent to Parent of PA since the summer of 2018. My son Owen, who is now 17 months old, qualified for physical therapy at four months of age as a result of a flat spot on his head and trouble turning his head to one side, due to weak neck muscles. The positive experience that we had from services received through the Alliance for Infants and Toddlers program and more specifically by working with Lisa Moore, Owen’s physical therapist, helped me make the decision to become a peer supporter. I knew all too well the feeling of helplessness that overwhelms you when you are told your child requires physical therapy, may possibly need a helmet, and would have to do daily exercises during which he would typically scream. In the blink of an eye, with a lot of hard work and tears from both mom and baby, we made it to the other side. Owen was discharged from therapy when he turned a year old. He never needed a helmet since physical therapy resolved his flat spot, and now, there are times that I even forget the side he had difficulty turning to.

 

Seeing the big picture was something that would have helped me in the beginning of this journey, so helping other parents who were skeptical of the program or who naturally had questions when facing something totally unknown seemed to call me. My career is in secondary education, so I am inclined to want to help people. Volunteering through Parent to Parent of PA has been rewarding for me to help other parents who may be struggling with the current stage they are in with their children. It is always reassuring to talk to someone else who is having a similar experience as you, just to know there are people who can relate and have been through the same process you have.

 

Although each process is unique to each parent and child, there is comfort in numbers and knowing you have support, even if that support is simply a text or a phone call. Hearing that each phase will pass quickly is something I would have put more faith in those first twelve months had I heard it from another parent who had experienced the same thing. Now that I have a busy and headstrong toddler, I sometimes wish for those simple first twelve months back.  I truly believe in the adage, “It takes a village to raise a child,” and it is nice to know that I can help out by volunteering my time, and experiences through Parent to Parent of PA and I can be a small part of many villages.

                                                                                                                                          – J Artim