The Reflux Infants Support Association (RISA) Inc is an Australian not-for-profit community support organisation. It aims to provide moral and emotional support, encouragement and confidence to families of infants and children who suffer from gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD), restoring their confidence in their parenting abilities, as well as suggesting management strategies suitable for a child with GORD. It encourages, assists and cooperates with medical and allied health professionals to support these families so they can make the necessary informed decisions, and supports parents in whatever they choose is best for the child, the parents and the family.
The organisation was formed in 1982 by a group of parents whose children suffered from reflux, and continues to be run solely by volunteers who are parents of children with reflux. They are all too well aware of the effect it can have on both children and their families, and the anguish it causes. As a result, they are all passionate about helping other families cope with this sometimes insidious disease.
RISA Inc is supported by a Medical Advisory Panel, which consists of paediatric gastroenterologists, paediatric surgeons, paediatricians, and an allergist. RISA is also generously supported by Kimberly Clark, manufacturer of Huggies.
To help parents of infants with GORD understand that they aren’t alone in this experience, and that they really are doing a great job at parenting their difficult baby.
To give parents of infants with GORD access to accurate information and support which can give them the confidence to trust their own instincts and parenting ability, and to give hope that the situation can improve.
Why the need for a support group?
The constant demands of a baby with reflux may stretch the families’ patience and physical resources to the limit; parents often believe they lack basic parenting abilities, and social isolation can also be a significant problem. On top of all that, many find that their own families and friends offer them very little support or understanding. Even if the reflux is more of a nuisance than a medical condition, the child can be very challenging to care for, and an infant with reflux may cause a lot of stress and concern within the family. Others will suffer from reflux so severe and overwhelming it can take families to breaking point.
RISA Inc endeavours to provide accurate and up to date information by following the guidance of their Medical Advisory Panel. They also advise parents to seek medical advice, and then help the family to cope with the day to day pressures of living with a persistent refluxer. They offer a wide variety of support systems to be able to provide the necessary support to these families, such as:
- Telephone support with other reflux parents;
- Printed literature, including membership packages, regular newsletters and a published book entitled “Reflux Reality: A Guide for Families” (from which royalties go to RISA in order to further support families);
- Coffee mornings/support meetings;
- A website;
- Online parent support groups;
- A library service;
- Informal gatherings; and
- Public education.
Phone: (07) 3229 1090
(Support group endorsed by Dr Donald Ormonde, MBBS PhD FRACP, Gastroenterologist at St John of God Health Care and Medical Director of Virtual Gastro Centre.)