Tag Archives: fathers day

Being a parent – It’s kind of mind blowing to me

Phil Lusted is a web and graphic designer from north Wales who has most recently appeared in the BBC One documentary, ‘Big Love’.

Phil’s partner, Kathleen has a young daughter. For Father’s Day, Phil reflects on the things he is learning through being a parent with dwarfism and his hopes for the future.

Being a parent has opened my eyes to a lot of new things. I now have a child who looks up to me when she is in need of help or taking care of. I now have a responsibility to take care of our child when Kathleen is busy or needs assistance. It’s kind of mind blowing to me, in a good way. We are now officially a family and a team who strives to help, learn and care for each other through life.

I consider myself blessed to have met Kathleen’s daughter from her young age, as it’s beneficial we both learn to adapt together as she grows up. We have already learned so much from each other.

She often asks me for help when it comes to getting dressed, putting on her socks and shoes, jackets, and so on. During bed times she enjoys settling down with me as I read her a bedtime story, and we often have a giggle together before sleep time.

A man with dwarfism and his partner, a non-disabled woman, smile and laugh on a beach
Phil and his partner, Kathleen, are looking forward to raising their child together

Being a dwarf parent has its own challenges, as I do some things differently in comparison to an average height person and there are also situations where I cannot always manage. Often I can be hard on myself and feel down about the fact I wish I could do more in the way of being able to pick the baby up and carry her around when needed. I’m blessed to have Kathleen’s patience, as she reassures me that I am doing enough.

Below are just some of the things I’ve learnt as a parent so far.

Pull-ups instead of diapers

Diapers are a real struggle! Mostly because I find it fiddly to deal with my fingers (I was born with no knuckles), so pull-ups are a great alternative that myself and our child can manage without too much of a struggle.

Using a smaller/lighter stroller

Kathleen has an umbrella stroller in which I can easily manage to push around when it comes to getting out and about. It works a wonder for myself, the handles are low and the stroller is easy to push.

The safety harness

It’s not often the baby will try and outrun me, she’s very calm and will stay close, but using a harness on her to keep her close is always handy. That way, she is not needing to be carried and she also gets to walk around.

When I use a step

Keeping things out of reach from our child is important. I use steps to reach those particular things, or to do the dishes, brushing my teeth. Sometimes she will try and climb up on the step with me, so explaining to her that it’s not safe is important, we don’t want her falling and hurting herself!

A man with dwarfism and a non-disabled woman walk on a beach
Phil and his partner, Kathleen, on a photoshoot

I am excited about the journey of being a parent to this wonderful child as she gets older, learns, and grows. It is so nice and comforting to be able to form such a strong bond with her. I care so much for this child and her happiness.

Head to Scope’s website to read tips suggested by community members about pregnancy and parenthood for disabled people.

You can also join the discussion on Scope’s online community and speak to other disabled parents about their tips and experiences.

The best thing about being a disabled dad or dad to a disabled child?

We put a shout out on our online community and social media, to find out what the best things about being a disabled dad or dad to a disabled child are. You didn’t disappoint.

Happy Father’s Day to all you legends! 

Dad sitting ont he soaf with his young son, who has Down's syndrome. They are reading a book together.

Hughie on Facebook: “I have an inspirational 11 year old boy who faces daily challenges but always has a smile on his face. He never lets his disability stop him from having fun and reaching his goals. He’s also supported by his little brother who is just amazing with him. Proud to be their dad. You are both amazing and love you all the world.”

Zec on our community: “My daughters are now 21 and 23 but I’m gramps to Oscar who’s 20 months old. Since he could sit up he’s loved sitting on my lap in the wheelchair. People seem fascinated when we go round the supermarket with him sat on my lap. Now he tries to push me in the wheelchair and he moves it.

The best thing is that he doesn’t bat an eyelid at me in a wheelchair, to him it’s just what gramps does and why wouldn’t he.”

Dad smiling and looking at his daughter who is sitting on his lap, who is making a funny face. She has Down's syndrome.Charlimaisdad on our community: “The best thing about being a dad to Charli-Mai is seeing her achieve milestones, and to see how much she gets out of life.”

FoodFatigue on our community: “For me it’s raising and seeing that my daughter doesn’t bat an eyelid when seeing other people with disabilities. She’s developed a great empathy and it’s great to see.”

Guy on Facebook: “I have had the wonderful privilege of easing and shaping the difficult life of an amazingly inspirational young woman, and it’s such a pleasure to see her flourish now!”

Speedincaesar on our community: “I love being a dad! Watching my daughter grow unfazed by differences. I love the conversations we have. Being a dad in a wheelchair has also given me the opportunity to meet other families with kids that may not have ever met a disabled person before.”

Martin on our community: “Being a dad is the one thing I’m most proud to be in my life.  Having a child with disabilities just amplifies that honour and pride. The two younger children get our eldest involved in everything they do, they see when doors need to be opened and recognise places his wheelchair won’t fit.

Two brother sitting togather at a football match, the youngest sitting on the lap of his older disabled brotherAn amazing moment for me was at a football match recently.  I campaign for better access to stadiums, and one of the things I asked for is accessible family seating so that families can enjoy a game sitting together. In our life it’s often our eldest getting looked after by his younger brothers, but at a football match I took this picture, where clearly big brother, is looking after the youngest.  Had a lump in my throat when taking this, and still do when I see it. It’s pictures like this that make being a dad the best thing in the world. Of course it may be Father’s Day on Sunday,  but I couldn’t be half the dad I am without the support of my wife, and their mum. Like football, being a dad or a mum to me is a team thing.  And when we’re on form, we make one hell of a team.”

We’d love to hear your reasons too. Tell us in the comments below. 

Have a laugh this Father’s Day

With Father’s Day just a couple of weeks away, we have the perfect way to treat your dad with this year’s Pun Run Charity Special which is raising funds in aid of Scope. An evening of fun and laughter, the Southbank event will feature some top-rated comedians including Lost Voice Guy, Andy Zaltzman, Felicity Ward and many more, all in the name of charity.

Below we caught up with Bec Hill, founder of Pun Run, who told us a little more about the event, what the audience can expect and why the organisers chose Scope as their charity to support this year.

Can you tell us a bit about Pun Run? How long has it been going on?

Pun Run started in 2011. It was supposed to be a one-off show where myself and other comics could purge all of their pun-based material which never worked in normal comedy clubs. But then the show sold out and I was inundated with requests by audience members wanting another one and comedians wanting a spot. I’ve been putting on Pun Runs throughout the UK, Ireland and Australia ever since!

What can the audience expect at one of your events?

The clue is in the name. We love wordplay and actively encourage it. I found that often, if you’re at a normal comedy club and a comedian does a pun, it doesn’t get the love it deserves. But if you are in a big room full of people who want to hear puns, there is a comradery everyone has. The atmosphere becomes giddy. Our motto is, “A groan is as good as a laugh!”

Why have you chosen to host your next Pun Run in aid of Scope?

We’ve been putting on special Pun Runs in aid of Scope once a year since 2012. We usually do it in Edinburgh, during the Fringe, but due to other commitments, it made more sense to hold it in London this year, at the Udderbelly on Southbank. The co-creator of Pun Run, Gavin Innes, is the brother of ex-Paralympian Caroline Baird. He mentioned how supportive Scope had been with her Cerebral Palsy throughout her life and we thought it was important to show some support in return.

As Scope continues to exist to make this country a place where disabled people have the same opportunities as everyone else, the visibility of disabled ambassadors in the public eye is of great importance as we work towards this objective.

Scope supporter and one of Pun Run’s comedians for this year’s charity special, Lost Voice Guy believes that “the visibility of disabled comedians has improved over the last few years. A lot of this being down to programmes such as The Last Leg and the last Paralympics which raised the profile of disability issues within mainstream media.”

He also adds that “most people’s perceptions of disabled people have changed because of media developments and they don’t feel as awkward any more. I think that has helped disabled comedians a lot. There’s still a long way to go though. It might help if every comedy club wasn’t so inaccessible!”

The Pun Run Charity special is on 19 June at the Southbank Centre, London. Book your place on the Pun Run Charity special today!