Dads of Disability: Stories for, by and about Fathers of Children with Disabilities is a book that will contain stories from a variety of people. The stories don’t have to be by fathers (though many will). They can be by mothers, wives, grandmothers, children with disabilities or their siblings, or anyone else. However, the theme to the stories is about fathers’ authentic experiences.
For information and guidelines about submitting a story or other piece for the project, see the Submission menu on this web page.
FAQs: About the need for this book
1. Why this book? There are a number of wonderful novel-length first-person and family narratives about parents and fathers of children that experience disabilities. (I like a lot of them!) But there is a scarcity of materials for men that collect experiences and reactions to them at the various points in the father’s life.
2. What is this book’s approach? While the exact approach and organization is still percolating, the general idea is this. What would be useful to a father when their child is first diagnosed? When an particular life event occurs, what would be useful to a father to learn how to adapt to it in light of a family situation they may not have been taught to expect? What perspectives that some men have could be useful to the women in their lives to read?
3. Who says it is needed? Without fail, all of the medical, academic, and social professionals and parents of both genders I have approached with this idea have said that this project would be useful to them or their communities. While I expect some backlash (isn’t there always?) I hope that this project will be positive for many people for many reasons.
FAQs: About gender approach
1. Don’t all parents, both mothers and fathers, have similar experiences? Yes, parents of children of disabilities share many common experiences, regardless of their gender, age, or sexual orientation. While strongly acknowledging that fact, I posit that there is a difference in the perceptions, actions, and experiences between a mother and a father’s perspective. With that said, I am choosing to write and curate materials in this book about the father’s perspective.
2. Why focus on just the father’s experience? I’ve found, and others have told me, that in-person and online support groups and most available books cover either a general parenting experience, or else an experience focused (whether on purpose or organically) on a female perspective. Also, there are a number of excellent, novel-length first-person narratives about fathers and mother’s experiences being a parent of a disability. Unfortunately, there are fewer “anthology” style collections focusing on a variety of fathers and children.
3. Is this book just for fathers? No. While this book is about fathers, its intention is to help new and experienced fathers see that others have experienced what they may be going through. Just as importantly, it is a book for the women in their life to read about what their men may be going through and hopefully help foster better communication between families.
4. What about gay fathers? I’ve been asked this a number of times. I hope to include (if I am lucky enough to find someone willing to submit an essay) one or more perspective and stories about gay fathers of children with disabilities.
FAQs: About Intentions (and answers to “haters”)
1. Will this book bash women? No, it won’t. I believe it is possible (and in fact necessary) to explore a male perspective about issues surrounding a parenting children with disabilities. While some women may disagree with some of the perspectives written about, I sincerely hope that none of the writing will be seen as bringing women down, but rather as genuine expression of the father’s perspective.
2. Shouldn’t you be focusing on the individuals with disabilities? It is my intention that the existence of these stories is validating and explaining some experiences of the individual with disability. But this particular book is not about the perspective about the individual with a disability. That is, unless the father also has a disability. There are other materials available that take that very valid, but very different, perspective.
3. “Dads of Disability” is an insulting name. It implies that the father is a parent of a disability, not a father of a person. I’m well aware of “people first” language. First of all, the subtitle of the book (Stories for, by, and about fathers of children who experience a disability) uses people-first language (though I am not always crazy about the approach in all writing, as it can seem unnatural or add to sentence length). Next, I think that the very fact that I am undertaking this project and trying to explore these topics to help both the general reader (who may not have a family member that experiences a disability) and the reader in the community of parents whose children experience a disability. Finally, the reality is that I want to use a short title that could be registered as a web domain and be effective in quickly creating a mental image for marketing. Even after this explanation, if you are still offended, I apologize.
4. I expect that a small minority of possible readers will take a general negative attitude on the book. I suppose I’ll just have to deal with it. My intention is that this book and its readers will be enlightened enough to want to explore (even if not always agree) authentic experiences of fathers of children that experience disability.