The name of my mission is FATHERSCONNECT. The target audience is fathers of a disabled child .
Because when a man becomes the father of a child he did not expect, very often he “DISconnects”. From his child, his spouse, his family, and himself. Usually the “disconnect” is not total, and not forever, and not from everyone. But often enough fathers need help to “REconnect.”
I am the father of a 26-year old son with Down syndrome. For the first 3 months after my son was born I disconnected. I could not accept that my child was not going to be what I expected. I didn’t try to bond with my son. I helped my wife but I wasn’t emotionally supportive of her. I didn’t go inside myself to understand why I felt so much pain and disappointment. I was not the proud father of a newborn son.
An encounter with a wise individual moved me to view my son and my situation in a different and positive perspective. Once I did the reframe I was able to reconnect. And as I reconnected, I discovered strengths and abilities I didn’t know were in me. I began to feel joy being the father to my son.
I am thankful for all the gifts I’ve received on this journey with my son. Among them are:
- A deep, loving relationship with my wife; a result of supporting each other when so often there was no one else to turn to
- Pride in my son’s accomplishments, when I never expected to feel proud of him
- Joy that my typical children have become givers with a deep appreciation for every person’s uniqueness
- All the personal growth I’ve made as a husband, father, and man
I’ve learned that the world is comprised of two types of people: givers and takers. I choose to be a giver. Using my professional experience as an educator and my personal growth meeting the challenges I have faced, I want to assist fathers (and mothers) to find solutions to their challenges.
That’s what motivated me to write Chosen Fathers: Life Lessons Learned From Fathers Of Children With Disabilities. And start a Mentor program connecting experienced fathers with “new” fathers. I also send out a Newsletter focused on solutions to challenges we fathers face. I blog. I am developing online workshops. And I have arranged my time to meet personally with fathers and couples.
In the United States as of 2014, 1 in 8 men was the father of a child with a disability. The experience is unique. It is not easy. Not at all. Believe me, I know. I also know that opportunities for joy and personal growth await you when you choose to see them. Once you do, your life won’t be the same. Instead of being disconnected you will become the person you are truly meant to be.
My mantra is simple: This is your life. Accept it. Get busy and make it good.
That is what FathersConnect.com is all about.
The Basic Bio
- Born and raised in Los Angeles
- K-12 public school
- BA, History, University of California, Berkeley
- MS, Special Education, Yeshiva University, New York
- PhD, Educational Administration, Kansas University
- Career: Educator:
- Regular classroom teacher
- Special education classroom teacher
- School principal: public alternative high school, public elementary school, private Jewish day school
- Adjunct assistant professor, Azrielli Graduate School of Education, Yeshiva University, New York
- Career: Counselor/Advisor:
- United Nations School, New York City
- Department of Corrections, State of Washington
- Oshawa/Whitby Adolescent Alcohol/Drug Rehab Center, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
- Department of Special Education, Durham County Schools, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
- Private practice advising fathers, couples
- Married; father of two sons and a daughter; second son has Down syndrome; grandfather of 4
- Living in Jerusalem, Israel
What I do
- Write books for fathers
- Show fathers (and couples) how to reframe their perceptions
- Guide fathers (and couples) in designing action plans to achieve their goals
- Public speaking about the opportunities and joy that await parents when they accept unconditionally their child with all his/her limitations
- Manage a Mentor program which connects experienced fathers of children with disabilities to “new” fathers