Support group for Hispanic families with kids and adults with disabilities

A Phoenix couple is leading a support group called Grupo de Apoyo para Ninos Especiales, also known as “GANE.” It’s a group for Spanish-speaking families with children and adults with different disabilities. Horizonte’s Jose Cardenas, spoke with the president of GANE, Gabriela Orozco. Created over 20 years ago, the group is able to provide different support resources.

Orozco says that Spanish-speaking families don’t have the same dedication and support for individuals with disabilities as do English-speaking families, and she sees more of a need to attend to the Hispanic population.

GANE provides a monthly meeting with different speakers that teach families about the school system, DDD system, medical system, and how to advocate for their loved ones. They have a new therapist every month that helps the families. GANE also provides information about different resources available for the community on a monthly basis, and they make a point to translate information that has been written in English. For families that may not qualify for DDD services, GANE has medical supplies to offer through donations.

Apart from the language barrier, some of these families also face a challenge due to their legal status or they might just not know how to navigate the system. Orozco mentions that these families fear not being able to gain access to these resources whether it be here or in Mexico, and through GANE they are able to get access to therapists and so much more.

“They come to our group hoping that they can get just about anything, even if they just get somebody to hear them and talk to them,” Orozco said. GANE tries to guide these families in the right direction to get them the resources that they need.

Orozco shares that the biggest obstacle that COVID brought to these families was a sense of fear. Some of the kids aren’t able to go out or even keep their facemask on, so a lot of these families have isolated themselves and the kids are not able to get the social experiences that they need because of the situation that they are in. GANE has tried to help by providing toys and other resources as they see anxiety escalated among this community due to the pandemic.

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Gabriela Orozco, Grupo de Apoyo Para Ninos (GANE)

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