The mum of a young disabled child has used the power of social media to help support other families with disabled children while also finding support for herself.  Now, she wants to encourage more families to head online and connect with each other to help them feel less alone.

“To be able to connect with other families who are riding those highs and lows with you is such a beautiful thing.”

Documenting A Family Journey

24-year-old Paige Norman, from Great Yarmouth is mum to four-year old Lincoln who lives with multiple rare conditions.  At five months old, he started having a series of seizures, sometimes up to 70 a day, much to the distress of his parents.  After months of trips to the hospital and relentless tests, Lincoln was eventually diagnosed.  During this time, Paige wanted to feel less alone and so decided to use Instagram to document the family’s journey.

Offline and Online Support

Even though offline family and close friends rallied round Paige and Lincoln, she found it difficult to explain his conditions to the wider world.  While many people meant well, Paige often got upset when having to go over the nature of Lincoln’s conditions again and again.  She realised that posting on Instagram was a helpful way to easily inform everybody and keep them up to date with her son’s journey.

Paige explained: “The hardest thing was so many people love and care for him and I didn’t want to relive [his diagnoses] all the time and explain over and over again, but [with Instagram] anyone can read it.”

One Big Community

Perhaps the most striking thing to come from using social media was the sense of community Paige found online.  Through Instagram, she could connect with other families across the globe in similar situations who she could share her experiences with and lean on for support.  Together they could swap suggestions on how to make the best of their situations.  According to Paige, without the support and friendship of the online community she isn’t sure how she would cope with the ups and downs of her family’s situation.

Paige concluded: “Having a special needs child can be such a lonely, isolating journey, full of highs and lows. To be able to connect with other families who are riding those highs and lows with you is such a beautiful thing.”

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