While the vital role that fathers play in the development of their children is emphasized in recent literature, the majority of research relative to child development focuses on mothers. This imbalance is even more evident relative to research with parents of children with disabilities, leaving human service providers with few evidence based practices for appropriately addressing the needs of fathers raising children with disabilities. Research suggests that having a child with a disability, while challenging, can also have a significant positive impact on the family system and potentially offer a transformational experience for the parent. Guided by a theoretical model of transformational outcomes, the purpose of this qualitative case study was to investigate how two veteran fathers of children with disabilities describe their transformative process. Using qualitative inquiry methods, the fathers’ were interviewed and their narratives were transcribed and analyzed to discover emerging themes. Findings indicated that laughter was a prominent emotion throughout the narrative and that the fathers used both positive and negative descriptors to define their experiences. Implications of these findings for human service professionals supporting families of children with disabilities are discussed. Attending to the unique needs of fathers can improve the overall functionality of the family system.
Pedersen, Holly F. Ed.D. and Spooner, Dionne Ph.D
"The Transformation Process of Fathers of Children with Disabilities: An Exploratory Case Study,"
Journal of Human Services: Training, Research, and Practice: Vol. 2
, Article 5.
Available at: http://scholarworks.sfasu.edu/jhstrp/vol2/iss2/5