People living with limb loss or limb difference need support and encouragement to heal and improve their quality of life. Although friends and family can provide this to a certain extent, they still don't know what amputees go through. Someone who lives with limb loss and limb difference and has gone through the challenges is better equipped to offer encouragement and information. This is where peer visitors or peer advisors come in.
If one of your goals is to help others this year or get more involved with the limb loss and limb difference community, you might want to consider becoming a peer visitor. And Amputee Coalition has a great program that can equip you to help others experiencing limb loss or limb difference.
Amputee Coalition launched the Certified Peer Visitor program in 1993. Since then, they have trained thousands of peer amputees as well as caregivers and family members to better support and encourage new amputees.
What can you expect to learn through the Certified Peer Visitor program?
Peer visitors provide support in different ways, from one-on-one conversations to facilitating support groups to partnering with youth camps and hospitals.
The program can help you hone effective communication and listening skills. It can also teach you to identify and respond appropriately to the various stages of emotional adjustment, as well as remain neutral throughout the peer support process.
Once you've gone through the necessary training, Amputee Coalition will help you practice everything you've learned through mock peer visits.
All the skills you will learn through the program are vital to becoming an effective peer visitor. After all, supporting the limb loss and limb difference community is not limited to in-person conversations; you may need to support and encourage someone over the phone or via video call.
So, who can be a peer visitor?
If you're an amputee, you can apply to be a certified peer visitor at least 12 months after amputation or if you were born with a limb difference. Partners, spouses, family members, and caregivers of someone living with limb loss or limb difference also qualify.
Additionally, peer visitors must be at least 18 years old. However, those under 18 can still apply as long as a parent or guardian can commit to accompanying them.
If you think you're ready to be a certified peer visitor, here are a few more things you need to confirm:
You must be comfortable visiting individuals with limb loss and limb difference;
You communicate well with others;
You want to be an advocate for the community you wish to serve; and
You are willing to learn statistics and other facts about the limb loss and limb difference community.
If you fulfill all of the above, you can register for the Certified Peer Visitor program. Just prepare a list of personal references and their contact information, as well as a $40 registration fee. After you've registered, the Amputee Coalition will perform a thorough background check before you move on to the training stage.For more information about the Certified Peer Visitor program, please visit Amputee-Coalition.org to learn more.