Thursday, April 18, 2013

Spanish Language Support Group for Males Who are Raising Children with Special Needs

Wednesday April 3, 2013, from 5:30 PM-8:30 PM was a very special day at the Metropolitan Parent Center because of the launching of the Spanish language Fathers Forum. Six fathers, from the boroughs of the Bronx and Queens, were present for the first meeting of a unique support group for males who speak only Spanish and who are raising children with disabilities.

The group is a result of collaboration between the Metropolitan Parent Center and the organization, Fathers to Fathers of New York, that provides an English language support group for males who are raising children with special needs. You can learn more about them by visiting their website at

These fathers were invited to this event, which was offered free of charge so they can share their stories regarding what it is like to raise a child with special needs. There were two fathers present who spoke in front of the group and shared their stories; they spoke eloquently and with passion about the challenges they were confronted with. They stated that they did not receive much support from family members that they struggled to get and keep jobs in order to try to address the needs of their children. They felt alone and isolated because they were living in communities that were less than supportive they spoke of the isolation they felt, that they were alone with no connection to a support system. However, their stories were not just about struggles, frustration and despair. They shared wonderful and illuminating comments such as how they learned about patience, compassion, acceptance and other gifts that were bestowed on them by their children. They expressed their relationships with their children as being something precious and how they view life with their children as treasured moments. After the guest speakers shared their stories, the floor was opened to comments and discussions by the other group members. 

All of the participants praised the opportunity of being able to get together and share their stories, challenges, dreams and hopes for their children. They all expressed gratitude that they had a place where they can freely discuss anything they wished and are looking forward to the next meeting of the Fathers Forum in Spanish. This support group will present fathers and other males with an opportunity to create and grow a community of Latino Fathers who will then reach out to other men who are raising children with special needs and invite them to join this unique group. The next meeting will be tentatively scheduled to take place in the fall of 2013. We are hoping that there will be more males present at the next meeting, so we can proceed to grow this unique community.

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