Fathers of kids with learning disabilities ‘experience lack of support’

A new report has found that fathers of youngsters with learning disabilities want to be more involved in raising their children, but don’t get enough support from employees and social services.

Research by the Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities looked at the experiences of 250 fathers and found that six out of ten fathers felt that health and social care practitioners made more of an effort to communicate with mothers, even when the father is the main carer.

The charity argues that policies and practices do not recognise or support fathers in their roles as carers, and their own health and employment is being detrimentally affected.

Many felt they would like to spend more time with their children but work was the main reason stopping them from doing so, because employers were unable or unwilling to provide flexible working arrangements.

The report recommends that health services take a more active role in supporting the needs of fathers and that government policy such as the Carers Strategy and Health at Work agenda must explicitly address the role of fathers as carers.According to mental health charity Mencap, there are 1.5 million people with a learning disability in the UK.