My Husband is a D.A.D.S…. Dads Appreciating #DownSyndrome

by Carrie with Children with 19 comments

** I am excited to share this post today, written by my husband, Rob! Because when you’re talking about Dads and Down syndrome…  who better else to talk about it than a real dad!  I’m so proud of him. **

As most of Carrie’s reader’s know our almost two-year old ‘baby’ Molly was born with Down syndrome.  So a few weeks ago, I attended the first D.A.D.S National organization meeting, sponsored by the Down Syndrome Association of Jacksonville.   I was skeptical at first but found out quickly I was in a good place.  Carrie told me she wanted to write this article, but I felt like it was my duty to help spread this word myself.

The acronym D.A.D.S. stands for Dads Appreciating Down Syndrome.  And their mission statement is :

 “To assist and support, through fellowship and action, the fathers and families of individuals with Down Syndrome.”

Now, I am not going to list all of their goals and what they do, you can read about all that on the D.A.D.S National site, I would rather give you my personal thoughts of the meeting.

At first was a bunch of guys making small talk and then began the start of  why we were there.  Joe Meares, the founder of D.A.D.S began to speak about all of the questions, emotions, thoughts and dreams for our children with Down syndrome that I have had a million times.  If you are a father of a child with special needs, you know exactly what I am saying.

Joe explained how he went from a Dad ‘against’ Down syndrome to a Dad ‘appreciating’ Down syndrome, something that I have gone through even though I had never heard it put into those words.  I was angry when I first heard Molly’s diagnosis and didn’t like what I heard, but after time and tears and growing together as a family, I have embraced all that Molly is and I will do everything I can to ensure her happiness and quality of life.

Each of the dads in attendance gave a brief introduction of who they were and shared about their child with Down syndrome.  I heard stories that ran a range of emotions.  Yes, I teared up a few times, but it made me feel good to hear others challenges and successes and all that each of us have in common.

Things I Learned from D.A.D.S – 

  • There are governmental type issues that any special needs parent needs to be aware of that I was somewhat oblivious to (ADA, etc…)
  • This group is for guys only and deals with issues that Dads face in raising a child with Down syndrome, some that we may not want to discuss with the wife, sorry ladies…
  • The attitude of the father becomes the attitude of the family.

If you know a father who has a child with Down syndrome, share this with them and encourage them to attend an event in your area.  It’s not a gathering of guys to sit around and drink, we all have friends for that already, it’s a gathering of DADS with children who have Down syndrome to learn about what we can do as men to support those in our community with Down syndrome.

Visit to learn how you can get involved in your community. 


  • Cassie

    What a cool group. I can’t imagine a dad not having a support system of his own so kudos for Carrie wanting you to go and you to actually going! You have a beautiful family!

  • Lisa @ Oh Boy Oh Boy Oh Boy

    My nephew has Down Syndrom so I’m going to forward him this post. My boys have ADHD, totally different thing but I still appreciate the need for a community of people who understand. I think its awesome that this group is just for Dads because I think they process things differently and often don’t feel they can share frustrations openly in a group of females because sometimes we just don’t get it!!!

  • Melissa

    Such a wonderful post – you are an awesome Dad, Rob! This sounds like such a great organization and I’m glad you found it!

  • Cindy

    Very touching and informative…thanks for sharing, Rob!

  • Sara @ Mom Endeavors

    It’s wonderful that such a group exists! And, I LOVE when dads guest post on blogs! So great! 🙂

  • Nicole Hill

    There seems to always be support systems for women to get involved with. It seems that women have no issues telling their friends and family how they are feeling and the fears they have about their children’s lives. I think it
    is great that organizations for dad’s, like this one, exist so that men can have a place to share and be open and honest about what they are going through. Bravo Rob. It appears as though you are discovering you are not alone in your thoughts and feelings. You guys have a wonderful family. I really enjoy the blog and the updates – always.

    Nicole Hill

  • Mindi

    What a fantastic organization! As a Speech-Language Pathologist I work with a lot of families of children with Down Syndrome. I am always looking for support group systems. Is this organization national or just in your area? Thanks for sharing your experience!

  • Bridget

    What a great oranization and you are a wonderful dad!

  • Martha

    Thank you for sharing your experience with all of us. It is great to know that there are organizations helping dads.

  • Pam King

    There is a new girl at Leland’s preschool, her name is Lillian, and she has down’s syndrome and she is the sweetest and cutest little thing . She fell asleep in my lap on the bus today back to the preschool. He goes to Early Impression Development Center in Yulee. I’m going to forward this to the center.

  • Miranda

    What a great post! I am so encouraged by dads who step up and embrace their family!

  • Jenn @therebelchick

    What a great organization! And you daughters are beautiful!

  • Mary McLean

    Rob, what a great article. I know men, usually, keep thoughts to themselves–including your father-in-law. So glad you found this group of Dads to interact with. Proud to have you for a son-in-law!

  • Jen

    What a great group to have available to Dads as a resource. Thanks for sharing the information for other dads (and moms) to learn about. Way to go dad!

  • Jennifer

    What a great post! The post is beautifully written and your daughter is absolutely adorable. 🙂 I found your blog through Bloggy Moms. 🙂

  • janis

    I’ve taken and picked my grandson up several times from day/pre-k and have met alot of the kids in his class, but not all of them. When I went to his Pre-K graduation ceremony, I was pleased to see his classmates resembled the real world, white, black, hispanic, including a child with Down’s Syndrome. Thomas always talks about his friends in school, but it’s never with one of those “descriptions” because to him it doesn’t matter. Riley is just a girl in his class like everyone else, no more, no less. I’m so proud of his outlook and his attitude and wish more adults were the same

  • Special Needs Swimming

    Very cool. Thanks much for sharing. Sounds like a awesome support group.

  • Hanan

    What a great group! I think it is awesome that they are getting dad’s together as well, instead of just a group for women.

  • Queentob

    What a greatly supportive network. I think it is such a valuable piece of the family puzzle that you address your concerns as a father separately as well as collectively. I teared up just reading your review of the group. Your openess and honesty may just be the nudge someone may need to get them to attend.