Men's business

Dad gets big kiss from young daughter

A group of men came together for a special workshop held over two evenings in July and October 2014. The group was unlike others, as few had met before; yet they came with a shared purpose: to improve the lives of their children with autism.

The workshop was initiated by local community member, Melissa Delaland-Desfosses, who had already worked alongside Positive Partnerships as a local workshop facilitator. Melissa noticed that there were a number of dads in the Ballarat community who weren’t able to attend the daytime workshop, but who might have liked the chance.

In contrast with regular workshops, the night sessions for the special workshop were informal. Over a casual dinner the group of dads, uncles and grandads asked questions, shared stories and watched video clips from the Big Bang Theory. All reported that they greatly enjoyed the evening.

The information presented was less theoretical than regular workshops, based more on practical tips, activities and demonstrations that participants could take home to reflect on.

 “The information provided was very relevant, with plenty of opportunity to ask questions and share experiences,” said Anil Kattula, one dad who attended, adding that “the sessions for dads met a much needed demand within the Ballarat area”     .

Will Fidler, another father who attended, said “I found the conversation to be quite engaging between presenters and dads”.

“It opened my eyes to strategies I can use with my children on difficult behaviours. I look forward to attending more similar sessions and learning about autism while having fun,” he concluded.

Feedback from others at the Ballarat men’s workshops has helped Positive Partnerships to develop more resources and materials for fathers in particular, and highlighted some of the flexible strategies we can use to support male carers into the future.