Connor and Sophie’s mom knows she does not have time to do everything she would like to do. She sat down with them and made a list of grown-ups they could do things with or talk to when she was not available. Here is their list:
Spend time with one of your extended family members like cousins or aunts and uncles. Bake cookies with your grandma; watch a movie with your grandpa; go to the park with your cousin. Connor started fishing with his Uncle John and he has so much fun. Last weekend Uncle John helped Connor catch a 5-pound trout!
Some relatives live far away and you may not get to see them much. You can talk on the phone, Skype with them or use letters or email to keep in touch. Be creative about using technology to stay connected even when you can’t be together face-to-face.
Family friends or another parent
Does your mom or dad have close friends whom you know? It can help you when you spend time with grownups who are familiar with what’s happening in your house. They care about you and your parents and they want to help. Having another adult around can make it easier to do things that you might not have been able to do before. You can also talk with them about things that may feel too private to talk about with other people.
A school counselor is the person at school whose job it is to talk with kids when they are sad, confused, angry or worried. Sophie has met with the counselor, Mrs. Rogers, a bunch of times. Talking with Mrs. Rogers has helped Sophie feel less stressed at school and less sad at home.
Does your family belong to a religious community? Ask your healthy parent if you can talk to your pastor, priest, bishop, rabbi or imam who can help you and your family. You can also participate in games, events, fundraisers and activities through your religious community and find even more friends and people to spend time with and talk to.
Your neighbors might already be helping with meals or rides. One of the neighbors you know well could be a good adult to be around when you’re at home or outside in your neighborhood. They already know a little bit about the changes in your family and are close by to help out if there is an emergency. Sophie and Connor’s next-door neighbors know their dad is sick and like to help by bringing over dinners. They also watch Sophie and Connor when their mom is running late or is really busy with work.
If you play sports or a musical instrument think about asking your coach or teacher to spend a little time to talk. Sophie plays soccer and Coach Carrie knows that her dad is sick. Sophie likes it when Coach Carrie asks about her dad.
Sometimes your parent’s doctor can help answer questions or suggest tips for the family to use at home. If your mom or dad is going for an appointment, ask if you can go along and if you can have a few minutes to ask the doctor some questions about FTD.
Try This At Home
You can use Sophie and Connor’s questionnaire to interview some of the grownups who help your family. Use this handout to ask them how they feel about FTD. Sophie used it to ask her dad’s sister, Aunt Judy, the questions. Sophie was surprised to find out that her aunt feels many of the same things she and Connor feel. Amazing!
Print off the questionnaire and ask a grownup to do it with you.