Exploring the experiences of fathers who have a child with a learning disability
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

Exploring the experiences of fathers who have a child with a learning disability

Emily Cartwright Nursing student, University of the West of England, Bristol, England
Emma Douglass Senior lecturer, School of Health and Social Wellbeing, University of the West of England, Bristol, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To read about contemporary UK-based literature on fathers’ experiences of having a child with a learning disability

  • To recognise that having a child with a learning disability can affect all aspects of a father’s life

  • To appreciate the need for tailored support for fathers of a child with a learning disability

Children with learning disabilities often require greater levels of support from their parents than other children. However, there can be differences in the caring experiences of mothers and fathers. This literature review aimed to develop an understanding of fathers’ experiences of caring for children with learning disabilities in the UK. Analysis of seven UK studies identified two overarching themes – gender stereotypes in parenthood and loss of imagined future.

Findings suggest that parenting a child with a learning disability can be a positive experience for fathers but can involve a journey through loss and grief before eventual acceptance of their child’s condition. Tailored interventions, such as male-only support groups, might help fathers as they move through this journey.

Learning Disability Practice. doi: 10.7748/ldp.2023.e2232

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software

@ldnursingUWE

Correspondence

emilycartwright8@googlemail.com

Conflict of interest

None declared

Cartwright E, Douglass E (2023) Exploring the experiences of fathers who have a child with a learning disability. Learning Disability Practice. doi: 10.7748/ldp.2023.e2232

Published online: 11 December 2023

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