Steve Palmer's blog about his son Stanley - who has Down's Syndrome - & the extended family. All about Down Syndrome and learning disability.

Wednesday, 21 December 2005

My own small battle of the sexes

This was originally on the BBC Ouch! Website

My own small battle of the sexes “I cried for about a year.” “Same here, well, for at least the first nine months.” Why are women so honest? These comments were made by my wife and a friend at a Christmas party at a family centre today, talking about when our DS kids were born. Whereas blokes kind of “cope”. For me, when Stan was born it became a bit of a “challenge” and I still sometimes treat it like some big blokey experiment (a long term one!). I mention this because I was recently interviewed by the Foundation for People with Learning Difficulties, who are researching the role of fathers of children with learning difficulties There is a suggestion that support for parents is often targeted at mothers and that fathers may find it difficult to ask for help. 

I found the interview rewarding as I’d never spoken of my feelings before to a stranger, for an hour and half….It was like therapy! But I won’t burden you here with what I said. (Typical bloke!)Certainly, most of Stanley’s key workers are women. That’s fine, he loves them. But he really loves the guy who’s his hearing-impaired teacher, because he’s a bloke. Stan runs up to men and hugs them and stays hugging them. Women may turn out to be teachers or nurses and may get him to do boring stuff. And so I worry that there isn’t the input for men that there could be. Some men will find it difficult to cope when their child is born with a learning difficulty. Danny Mardell, who I wrote about recently, admitted that he took solace in work at first. A lot of the decisions in Stan’s life are made by women and that’s fine because they are fine people. But, when he’s older, I’d like Stan to have a male role-model that isn’t just me, his brother or his uncle.


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