By Crystal Wylie
Register News Writer
Richmond now has a local chapter of The Incredible Child, a support group for families of children with all types of disabilities.
The group will host the family-friendly event “Read to Me” from 6:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Madison County Public Library in Richmond.
"On this journey, parents may have asked or be asked, ‘Where do I turn to for help?’” said Melissa Flickinger, who heads up the group and has a special needs child of her own.
"Each of us have a wealth of knowledge that needs to be shared,” she said. “We hope The Incredible Child can be that link to help all families find resources, support, play dates, sensory-friendly events and a family of friends searching for answers.”
Four years ago, Flickinger knew her 2-year-old was autistic before the doctors did.
Her son’s development was normal for the first two and a half years of his life, she said. But all of a sudden, he stopped looking her in the eye and talking.
The doctors confirmed her diagnosis by the time her son was age 3, she said.
Growing up alongside a sister with Down Syndrome, Flickinger had been around special needs children all of her life. She knows about the kind of support parents need when raising a special needs child, she said. And that’s where The Incredible Child comes in.
Around three months ago, Flickinger started the Richmond chapter of The Incredible Child, a group made up of a dozen or more children, family members, teachers, parents and therapists.
The group originated in London but has since began to spread across the state, she said.
Flickinger hopes more families become involved, she said. When she moved to Richmond more than three years ago, she had difficulty finding a support group like The Incredible Child.
However, through participation in Eastern Kentucky University’s Kentucky Adapted Physical Education program and through local involvement in Special Olympics, she encountered other parents who faced the same struggles as she.
Flickinger wants The Incredible Child to grow into more than just a support group, but a fundraising group that gives back to the community and enhances programs for children.
Currently, children ages 5 to 11 have participated in the group, but Flickinger said she encourages all ages with every type of disability to join in the fun.
For details, call Flinkinger at (615) 587-1714.
Crystal Wylie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 623-1669, Ext. 6696.