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Authors

  1. Appelbaum, Michelle Gellman
  2. Smolowitz, Janice L.

Abstract

ABSTRACT: This phenomenological study examined the experience of being the father of a child with severe cerebral palsy (CP). Participants were selected using purposive sampling. Two interviews were conducted with 6 English-speaking, biological fathers whose children with CP (ages 5-27 years) were enrolled in a residential and day school in northeastern United States. Audiotaped interviews were transcribed, and thematic analysis was conducted using van Manen's methodology. Themes identified were as follows: Lost in birth; My beautiful unique child; Illness as a way of life[horizontal ellipsis]you can't get used to it and after a while it feels like no one cares; Partners-loyalty and commitment; How the world receives my child; Healthcare providers-I'm here; Torn[horizontal ellipsis]when your child can't live at home[horizontal ellipsis]finding a place to live and grow; and Faith. Clinicians should encourage, value, and include fathers' input during discussions of medical and social problems and when developing long-term care plans. Further research exploring the experiences of fathers of children with CP should be conducted.