Advice for fathers
The dads we meet play a mixed role in caring for their child. Some deal with most of the appointments while others said that their partner became the 'keyworker', dealing with health and education services while they worked to pay for extra costs. Fathers in this position often feel uninformed because their partner finds out things first.
Our tips will help you find the information you need to support your partner and care for your child.
Tips for fathers
- Gather knowledge about the services available for your child and how they all work - remember, you can give our freephone helpline a call.
- Make your position as a father clear to all professionals and ask for written information about decisions made so you can be updated.
- You might find that letters and information don't always get sent to you. Read everything you can to find out what's going on.
- You may find it helpful to contact a charity or organisation that specialises in supporting children with your child's condition.
- Tell someone you trust how you are feeling. If you don't it is likely the pressure will build up.
- Spend some time with friends, or consider joining a parent support group to meet other fathers in your area.
Tips for fathers from fathers
Many of the parents we work with say they value hearing from other people going through the same experiences. These tips come from other fathers of disabled children.
- There is no such thing as a stupid question - don't leave the meeting or appointment until you understand.
- It's ok to negotiate on appointment times if an early or late appointment will fit better around your work.
- Talk to other dads with disabled children; talking to someone who knows what you're going through is priceless.
- Research what help is available to you, but don't trust everything you read on the internet. (Read our tips to find reliable medical information online.)
- Make time for you and your partner. Even if all you do is talk about your child, it's healthy to occasionally do this without your child there.
- Accept help from friends and family and make sure you find out if you're entitled to benefits and grants to financially support your family.
- It's normal to feel confused, angry and annoyed. Make sure you get enough sleep and take time for yourself - it's not selfish, but essential.
Work and benefits
Working parents may have a legal right to take time off in certain circumstances, such as paternity leave, parental leave and flexible working. Check with your employer for copies of their staff handbook or relevant policies.
It's important to find out what financial support you can claim as the parent of a disabled child. This includes Disability Living Allowance (DLA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Carer's Allowance.
- Parent guide: Fathers [PDF]
- Supporting your child's siblings
- Getting involved in parent carer participation