Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Importance of Support Groups

I attended a meeting at one of the five Celiac support groups I'm a member of last night. [One of the joys of living in a populous area is the number of options for anything you want to do - there are six Celiac groups within 15 miles of my house.] Anyhow, the meeting got me thinking about how much I get out of these groups. Now, each group approaches their meetings and agendas in a different way. Some are just discussions, others restaurant outings and others have set structured agendas. The one thing they all have in common is the camaraderie. It is nice, no matter the event or structure of the meeting, to spend an hour or two with people who completely get what I go through in having food restrictions. I would highly recommend (especially for those of you reading because of GF children) to find and join a support group. I know how much I feel like an outsider as a 35 year old man, I can't image how tough it must be on children. Even if you don't match the topic exactly (wheat allergy at a Celiac meeting for example) emotionally you'll get quite a bit out of the experience.

So where to look for groups if you aren't already in one?

  1. Check with your local hospitals. A good number of them offer support groups and if there is enough interest may add more.
  2. Try Meetup.com. They list all sorts of local support groups here: http://www.meetup.com/topics/health/ The nice thing about meetup is that you can do a zip code search on your issues and they will point you towards the closest groups.
  3. If you are GFCF for autism try http://www.gfcfdiet.com/ towards the bottom they have links to support groups for both children and parents.
  4. There is a list of R.O.C.K. chapters (Raising Our Celiac Kids) at celiac.com: Link to ROCK Chapters
  5. Celiac.com also maintains lists of Celiac disease support groups: Link to Celiac Support Group lists
  6. Ask around at your local health food store.
  7. Google it! (or use any web search site for that matter.)

And remember, if you can't find one you can always start your own. You may just be surprised at how many others in your community have similar problems!

Edited 11/05/08

Celiac Sprue Association - they have a list of local chapters organized by state.

1 comment:

Jason said...

I've greatly expanded this list of where to search for a support group here: List of Celiac Support Groups and How to Find One.

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