Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

I'm Bryan's Dad and Part of His Team

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

I'm Bryan's Dad and Part of His Team

Article excerpt

After several years of parenting a child with special needs, I am well aware of how easy it is for fathers to feel left out of the process. The family is much more than "mother and child" and needs to be considered as such. Early childhood specialists at all levels have much more experience with, and may feel more comfortable with mothers.

Have you--as a father--ever have been at a therapy session, parent conference or doctor's visit and felt that no one was talking to you? If so, it's time to take action! Don't allow yourself to be left out. Parenting any child is hard work; parenting a child with special needs is especially tough. Everyone who is in contact with your child on a regular basis must be pulling in the same direction--including you. We don't need to be on the same rope, but we all need to pull in the same direction.

There are many things that we as fathers can do to remain involved in the complex parenting process. My son, Bryan, has diplegic cerebral palsy. During his early days of diagnosis and treatment, it helped me to be the keeper of records. After each significant visit, we asked for a written report. By tending this file, I could keep track of what was going on-- even during visits I couldn't attend.

Staying involved means asking questions. At each doctor's visit or parent conference, come prepared with a few questions of your own. Ask your questions as early as possible during each meeting. This keeps service providers mindful of your involvement. …

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