Camphill Communities of Ireland

“In meetings with parents of children with special-needs, I realised there were very few supports available to care for parents’ mental wellbeing.”

Catherine O’Brien

BNest Incubator Programme 2017/2018 Participant

When a child receives a diagnosis of a special need, parents and guardians enter a new world. This can bring about stress and fear. There is little emotional support available for the parents/guardians at such a challenging time. ODODO provides a parents/guardian centered support.
The purpose of ODODO is to improve the mental health of parents so that they can be happier, healthier and better able to cope with life. The provision of a parent/guardian – engaged support can improve the quality of life for both the parent and the child with special needs.
ODODO alleviates the barriers to mental health care for parents and guardians of children with special needs. Online courses in contemplative practice develop habits of nourishing and stimulating new patterns of thought and behaviour.

Welcome to Holland



When you are going to have a baby it is like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum, the Michelangelo David, the gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It is all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says “Welcome to Holland!”. “HOLLAND!?!” you say. “What do you mean Holland? I signed up for Italy. I am supposed to be in Italy! All my life I have dreamed of going to Italy.” But there has been a change in flight plan. They have landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they have not taken you to a horrible disgusting place full of pestilence, famine and disease. It is just a different place. So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you will learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you never would have met.

It is just a different place. It is slower paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you have been there a while and you catch your breath, you look around you, and you begin to notice that Holland has tulips, Holland even has Rembrandts. But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy, and they are all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life you will say, “Yes, that is where I was supposed to go. That is what I had planned.”

And the loss of that will never go away, because the loss of that dream is a significant loss.

But if you spend the rest of your life mourning the fact that you did not get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things about Holland.


Emily Pearl
Originally from AFASIC News No. 78, May 1995