Down syndrome from a father's perspective.

Why I Blog About Down Syndrome: Part 3

I blog for other fathers of kids with Down syndrome

As I started my journey into the world of Down syndrome I noticed two distinct things about the resources available to new parents.  I noticed that the information most readily available did not convey any of the joys involved with raising a child with a disability; the information tended to be very factual which at times was overwhelming and seemed negative.  Secondly, it was my perception that there were very few resources directed at fathers.

It was clear to me very early on that the way I was impacted by Down syndrome was very different from the way it impacted my wife.  When I sought out books depicting the stories of other parents navigating through the world of Down syndrome I found that most of them were either written for mothers or were written by mothers.  It seemed to be that there was a need for a father’s perspective on Down syndrome.

I hope that other parents, especially fathers, find something in Treyton’s Posse that connects with them.  Something that helps them realize that they are not alone and that there really is hope for the future.  I pray that something I write would help other dads to see that this new life is one filled with hope, joy, and possibility. 

Band of Brothers

Recently I was able to have dinner with a couple of dads that also have children with Down syndrome.  Although it was the scheduled monthly meeting of our D.A.D.S (Dads Appreciating Down Syndrome) group, only three of us showed up.  I enjoy the meetings we usually have but this was also a great time, we were able to talk on a much more personal level than is possible in a bigger group.

As we talked our conversations naturally gravitated toward things surrounding Down syndrome.  It is not that we can only talk about Down syndrome when we meet, it is more that these meetings are one of the very few places where we know the other guy can understand what it is like.  The conversation I had on this night was a good reminder that I still needed to convey the third reason I started this blog.

I have always loved to watch war movies and the HBO series, Band of Brothers, is near the top of my list of all-time favorites.  This series really depicts the true reason that soldiers fight.  They may have enlisted out of some level of patriotism or other noble desire, but when the bullets start flying and the trees are bursting overhead the real reason they fight is because of the man in the foxhole next to them.  Being told your child has Down syndrome has placed you in the foxhole next to me.  Now we fight together.

Getting to the point

I can appreciate a person that likes to get to the point.  So here are some things that I would like to convey to any dad of a child with Down syndrome.

  • It is not what you would have chosen but it is going to be a lot better than you think.
  • There are a number of medical issues that often come with the Down syndrome diagnosis but not every kid will have them.
  • Kids with Down syndrome will grow and learn just like all kids, give them the chance.
  • If you always dreamed of doing something with your kid one day (hunting, fishing, sports) you still can.
  • Be a man.  Your child needs to know that you love him/her and that you always will.  When I was told my son had Down syndrome I made him a promise.  I promised him that no matter what happened in life I would always be there for him, that I was proud of him.  You need to make that same promise.
Rob Arnold has been married to his high school sweetheart for almost 19 years. Together they have three daughters and one son. He earned his bachelor's degree in General Business from Grand Valley State University as well as an MBA in Strategic Management from Davenport University. He enjoys reading, hunting, scuba diving, and spending time with his family.