Dads of Disability is a collection of 41 essays and poems rich in context and imagery that illustrate a father's perception of and reaction to being a father of a child that experiences disability. From before and through birth, to diagnosis, to the workplace, to serious medical or behavioral issues, to father's support circles, and much more--including aging and death--many inflection points are explored by the fathers themselves as well as the mothers and children in their lives. Each entry focuses on male and fatherhood themes.
This is not a 'how-to' book or a book of '5-ways to do this' or '10-ways to do that.' Rather, this collection uses a storytelling approach to illuminate the emotional lives of these fathers. Dads of Disability will begin or extend the conversation between and amongst fathers, mothers, extended families, care circles, and individuals with disabilities themselves.
This book is for fathers and mothers. For friends and support circles. For care professionals. For teachers. For friends trying to understand their neighbor's challenges. For anyone interested in the variety of the emotional lives of fathers whose children experience a disability.
Regardless of the age of the father, the child's challenge, or even the gender of the essayist (remember, they are not all men!), Dads of Disability strives to paint pictures of a variety of different men who have one thing in common-they deeply love a child who experiences a disability.
Topics of essays and poems include:
- A woman who chooses to live with her ex-husband to enable her children's father to continue to be in their life on a regular basis.
- On his way back from an airplane lavatory, a man gets into an interesting discussion with a flight attendant about fatherhood.
- A husband rising in the middle of the night is finally understood and accepted by his dedicated and supportive wife.
- A father considers running away, but he visualizes his own, now-deceased father teaching him why he needs to stay with his daughter.
- A senior citizen reflects on his family's care of his late brother.
- Over time, labels come to have different meanings to a father.
- A father accepting and helping with his child's sensory challenges helps him accept that he has the exact same issue.
- A poem where hoodlums can't stop a man from enjoying his iPod.
- A life filled with adaptations is explored in a reminiscence of the same event by a mother, her husband, and their adult child.
- A 3 year-old teaches us all a universal lesson in fewer than 60 words.
And many more...
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About the Author
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Dads of Disability is a collection of essays, poems and stories by and about Dads and how they cope with being a father to a disabled child. These stories were collected and edited by Gary Dietz, also a father to a disabled child. Author's Synopsis- " This is not a 'how-to' book or a book of '5-ways to do this' or '10-ways to do that.' Rather, this collection uses a storytelling approach to illuminate the emotional lives of these fathers. Dads of Disability will begin or extend the conversation between and amongst fathers, mothers, extended families, care circles, and individuals with disabilities themselves. This book is for fathers and mothers. For friends and support circles. For care professionals. For teachers. For friends trying to understand their neighbor's challenges. For anyone interested in the variety of the emotional lives of fathers whose children experience a disability. " Each essay or poem gives an in depth look inside the mind and heart of a dad at various crucial and defining moments in his parenthood journey. These are not just feel good Hallmark stories. These aren't stories of saints in suits swooping in like Superman saving the day without breaking a sweat. No, these are real dads dealing with real life struggles of parenting a disabled child. And while they do sometimes save the day, the men in these stories don't want to be seen as heroes. They just want to be seen as dads. Every story is brutally honest, such as the story of the man who admits that he considered running away in a time of weakness and despair, but after contemplating the benefits of own childhood with a present, dependable and steadfast father in his life, has no choice but to reconsider. One father talks about how reluctant he was to consider his wife's observations that "something was wrong". His struggle to overcome denial and walk into acceptance is a journey any parent of a child with disability can appreciate. Another dad talks about learning, accepting and respecting his son's limits. He learns the hard way that there's a thin line between encouraging and pushing too hard. Still another dad talks about the anticipation he felt when learning he was of having a son. He reminisces on how he planned to bond and to share father and son activities with his child. His child's severe disabilities changed all of those well-laid plans. This dad had to learn to adjust, accept and appreciate the kind of relationship he can have with son. The are also stories by women about the dads of these children. One of my personal favorites was by a wife writing with such admiration for the fix-it dad armed only with his tool kit who manages to make all kinds of adaptations for his physically disabled son so that he can enjoy the same experience as other kids his age, even when it may scare his mom to death! As the father of a severely disabled teenager, Gary Dietz didn't just collect and edit these essays, he has added his own voice to the stories in this book. His passion about the changing roles of fathers, especially of disabled children inspired this crowd sourced and crowd funded labor of love. Visit Gary's blog here. There are many sites, blogs, support groups for mothers of special needs children. As a mom of one of those children, I can assure you these are definitely needed. Before reading "Dads of Disability" I never realized that Dad's have their own unique feelings and experiences about parenting special needs children. Their voice also deserves to be heard. Reading these stories prompted me to have conversations in my own house about how our journeys and experiences can differ greatly while parenting the same child. The desire for a deeper dialogue is the greatest gift a book like this can give.
Dads of Disability debuts just in time for many to consider it a great Father's Day gift. When one scours the bookshelves for books written by and for dads in relation to being parents of children of disability, there are few and far between. This collection of brief vignettes and poems captures so many stories of the experiences of fathers raising kids with various challenges including Autism, Downs Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy, Bipolar Disorder, NOS and Depression to name just a few. Being able to read short accounts of various perspectives is a great way to help another person feel like they aren't on their own in this journey through life. I liked how brief the stories were which is great because the intended audience most likely doesn't have time to read a lengthy novel or account due to their busy lives. I felt that the reader could carry this book in his backpack, briefcase, stroller or car and just pop it out occasionally to read one or two accounts. Or, perhaps, he could keep it in his "office" (the bathroom where some parents spend their ONLY private time!). I liked the varying degrees of stories and perspectives to include so many different journeys. I really feel that many men will feel "wow, I'm not alone" and perhaps will greatly benefit with a brief sigh of relief in their very busy and sometimes hectic lives. Although the title infers that "women who love" the dads also contributed, I felt that less of those perspectives and more of the direct men's perspectives would have been my preference. However, after reading many of the women's perspectives, they were able to read into much of what the men in their lives sacrificed or gave to be an integral part of their child's life. Kudos to Mr. Dietz for sharing not only his stories, but collecting such a vast array of various perspective.
They’re all our children What a work! Seldom do I get excited over a work of non-fiction, but this is it. What separates this one from the pack is the multitude of voices. It’s just not the authors, but a host of other men and women who endure the hardships, no, that’s not the right word, the challenges of everyday life with a “special needs child or children.” Yes, there are a few essays where parents have multiple challenged children. What I found very endearing, is the common thread flowing through all the selections: an undying love for their children. At times it’s hard to find or understand, but it’s there. Sometimes it’s hidden deep in the words, while others it’s right there in your face. Of the forty selections I have would have to say “Lila the Philosopher,” was the most poignant, and it’s only five lines! There are others, but it would be an injustice to compile a numbering system. The only drawback is the final thoughts from the author. I understand how Mr. Dietz isn’t pleased with the media’s perception of parents with challenged children, but I felt it overshadowed the main message of the love all of the parents share, each and every day with their children. After all, don’t we all have challenging children? Well done Mr. Dietz A glowing five stars.
This book made realize that most books on parenting a disabled child are geared toward women, who are usually the main caretakers. Fathers of disabled children are often overlooked when the focus of much parenting support is aimed at mothers. This book is a collection of personal stories that pertain to fathers and their experiences raising their disabled child. Each essay is different and unique in it's own right and they offer a broad spectrum of experiences. Contributors are drawn from a wide range of cultures and situations. What they all have in common are the challenges that face them and their families in raising a child with a disability. Areas explored include the reactions of family, friends and colleagues, how to deal with the organizations and professionals that support families with a disabled child and the difficulty of being open about feelings in a culture that doesn't always expect men to have a sensitive or nurturing role. Dads of Disability is direct and insightful and a valuable resource, not only for fathers, but for mothers, extended family, and health care professionals alike.