Kevin was nervous about becoming a dad because he has a learning disability. But now he is now the father of two teenage sons, one who is going to college and the other has a job. “It’s been a really good experience seeing them grow up, I’m the proof you can have kids and have a learning disability.”
My name is Kevin, I am a parent with a learning disability and have two boys aged 15 and 19. The first of my boys was born prematurely. I remember my wife waking up two weeks before she was due to give birth at two in the morning to say the baby was coming – I told her to go back to sleep! Then I realised and jumped up and raced to the hospital.
I was in the delivery room and I saw his little head come out and my heart just dropped, I had a huge beam on my face.
However, when my son was born he started having fits on the first night. My wife and I told the nurse as both of us have fits too, but she didn’t believe us, told us he was just dreaming and sent us home. Two weeks after this a midwife came around and noticed he was having fits again and rushed him to hospital. By the time he’d got there he had had nine fits.
I thought I wouldn’t make a good father, but we sat down and realised that I could be and I’ve been a good dad ever since. My parents and my wife’s parents helped when both boys were born, which was a huge help. My older son now has a job; he’s dyslexic and didn’t think that he’d be able to get one, but he found one all by himself. My younger son has also just started college, I’m really proud of them both.
I have been part of a parents with learning disabilities group for 16 years. We are the only group in Camden, but our funding was cut and we now fund ourselves through jumble sales and sponsored walks.
The group really help each other and give support and advice. There are a few people that come to the group who want to have children, so we talk to them and tell them what it’s like to be a parent. We always tell them to think about it hard first, but that it is their decision and they shouldn’t let anyone tell them what to do.
The best thing about being a parent is having the experiences. I am so proud and it’s the best thing. It’s been a really good experience seeing them grow up and now that they are teenagers, it means that I’m the proof you can have kids and have a learning disability.
Have you been inspired by Kevin’s story? Learning Disability Today are supporting Mencap’s Learning Disability Week which is inviting people with a learning disability to share stories of their incredible first times. For more information on how to get involved with Learning Disability Week or how to share your own story head here: Learning Disability Week