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Supporting the wellbeing of dads of disabled children

A group of Coventry and Warwickshire dads have created a set of online videos to help fathers of disabled children be the best dads that they can be.

The dads worked with Emma Langley, a family researcher at the University of Warwick, to capture their experiences and create a resource aimed at supporting the wellbeing of other fathers raising a disabled child.

The online resources, designed by dads for dads, will be launched on Wednesday 31 March during a webinar featuring some of the dads involved in the project and Dr Langley.

In the videos the dads speak openly about their lives, including their initial reactions to first being told their child had disabilities, and how they felt about having to change their expectations of family life. They share their tips on adapting parenting skills to support a child with additional needs and were keen to speak about the positive experiences they have enjoyed with their children.

Dr Langley said: “Fathers of disabled children are rarely involved in research into family wellbeing, which means that we know little about their experiences and the kinds of support that would be helpful.

“We set up the Dads of Disabled Children Research Advisory Group so that we could share and discuss research findings related to father wellbeing. It became clear that the dads wanted to create something practical to help others in their situation.”

Chris Jones, who helped run the group’s meetings, said: “The group started as a forum to discuss research but we soon realised we wanted to capture our own experiences and share what worked for us so that we could help other dads look after their families and themselves.

“We decided that we would speak about our personal experiences over Zoom. One of the other dads edited our contributions into these videos. We hope that the resource will reassure other dads of disabled children and help them to be the best dad that they can be.”

Dr Langley said: “The videos are organised into key themes which the dads felt were important to discuss and are underpinned by theory and research.

“We know from research that parents of disabled children are more likely to experience high levels of stress, often linked to lack of support.

“Given the important role that parents play in children’s lives, their well-being is therefore important not only for its own sake but also because of its potential to influence their child’s outcomes. Supporting parents with their well-being will have positive outcomes for them and others in their family.

“So we very much hope that these resources will help other dads to feel more supported and to explore ways to look after their own health as well as their children’s.”

29 March 2021

  • The videos will be launched at a webinar on Wednesday 31st March 2021 Time: 6.00PM – 7.00 PM GMT Register at: https://dads.eventbrite.co.uk.
  • The Dads of Disabled Children Research Advisory Group was set up in 2019 and was funded by an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Postdoctoral Fellowship awarded to Dr Emma Langley, a Researcher interested in the well-being of disabled children and their families. The group involves fathers of disabled children from Coventry and surrounding areas.
  • The videos and more details of the Group are available at https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/cedar/familyresearch/fatheradvisorygroup/

 

CONTACT

Sheila Kiggins

Media Relations Manager, Social Science

s.kiggins@warwick.ac.uk

07876 218166