Eleven years ago Dianne Stille started PCSN - or Parents of Children with Special Needs - in part because of a scare she had with her own granddaughter. After she was born, her granddaughter showed signs of having a disability.
"It was just agonizing trying to find the help that she needed," Stille said. "I was scared to death. I was crying, trying to find that help. I went through the same thing all parents go through that have a child like that."
Luckily for Stille, her granddaughter's symptoms disappeared, but it helped inspire her to start a support group for families going through similar challenges with special needs kids.
She also was motivated by a family from church - the Slaughenhaupt's - whose son Joedan has down syndrome. Stille says she always saw Joedan's mom, Grace, in the gym of the church, tending to her son and missing out on church activities.
"We began to realize that a lot of folks with special needs kids are just not welcome in a lot of places when the help is so easy to find, really," Stille said. "We can help these people, just like you can help anyone else."
PCSN has grown to involve students from colleges in northern Colorado, who work with the children as part of their graduation requirements. Stille also brings in guest speakers to further educate families and the community as a whole about how to care for people with special needs.
"You know, people don't realize that special needs children can enjoy every single thing every other child enjoys," Stille said.
Stille invites families in Weld County with special needs children to join the support group. They meet on the fourth Monday of every month at 6 p.m. at the Evangelical Free Church in Eaton. For more information, call 970-454-3023.
(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)