Well as you all know, this Sunday is Father’s Day in the UK and North America. I think that sometimes the emphasis when caring for a child with any additional need is placed upon the mother. There are thousands of ‘mummy blogs’ all devoted to caring for children with and without disabilities, but hidden away there are some true gems that have been written by dads.
One in particular is by John Williams, who writes about life with ‘The Boy’, his teenage son who has autism, and I particularly like reading what they get up to. You can find John’s blog here. I was fortunate enough to interview John for ASDigest last year.
Incidentally this week is Mencap’s Learning Disability Week in which this national campaign aims to highlight the issues and realities of individuals and families living with a learning disability. I read on their website that:
‘Children with a learning disability are often socially excluded and 8 out of 10 children with a learning disability are bullied.’
It further adds that: ‘1 in 2 families with a disabled child lives in poverty.’ Both of these statistics are not at all surprising. Children with any kind of disability are often seen as ‘different’ and therefore can be the subject of bullying. Parents can help to educate their children about differences, and that it is ok to be different. We are incredibly lucky where we live, as the local community seem to understand Tom, and the children who meet him accept him for he is, but as he gets older will this always be the case? Education and acceptance of all differences is a must and this has to start when our children are very young. In the case of poverty, well it is a sad fact that many parents cannot find access to work due to their caring role, as there are not enough flexible hours or affordable childcare for families with disabled children. This is something that this government has quite clearly forgotten about when it comes to childcare issues.
There have been many wonderful tweets and discussions about #learningdisabilityweek over on twitter. One news story that I read was about a scheme based in London were ‘special trainers’ help children with learning disabilities to access public transport. One young man had travelled to school all of his life by special transport. He was in the process of starting college and needed to get there by bus, and so this scheme was able to help him. I just thought that this was wonderful.
So this week has been an extremely positive one, in terms of celebrating difference and educating people about disabilities. So it seems rather apt that the end of the week should be spent celebrating fathers and the role that they play in supporting their children.
Tom who is a father to a young son with autism and founder of Week on the Street, tweeted: “many dads often get left behind on the journey.” Shan Ellis last interviewed Tom back in November 2013, the article can be read here.
Carole Rutherford, of Autism in Mind, that supports parents, carers and families living with autism in the Sunderland area, posted the below video back in 2010.
Autism Dads – Stand up for Autism celebrates dads who care for a child with autism.
So here is a massive shout out to all of the dads caring for a child with any additional need. Have a wonderful Sunday and a fantastic Father’s Day.