Fathers of Special Needs Children conference set for Fayetteville Jan. 25


Many fathers of children with special needs suffer from depression and isolation. Unlike women, men usually don’t have the inclination or the means to reach out to others experiencing their same struggles. For this reason, advocate and author Mark Wallace Maguire is partnering with presenting sponsor Ignite FCC to present a conference for men in the Special Needs community.

Special Needs Dads Conference South takes place on Jan. 25 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Fayetteville Christian Church. The conference will feature speakers, question and answer sessions, coffee, food and, most importantly, fellowship.

“We’ve been very blessed with positive reactions from people wanting to make a difference with this event,” Maguire said. “If you look at the statistics for depression, suicide and divorce among special needs parents, there is a real need for people in the special needs community — especially fathers — to find support. We hope this helps.”

Thanks to donations and sponsorships, the conference is free. Maguire only asks for RSVPS which can be made via the website www.sndconferencesouth.com. Residents who would like to attend or volunteer can contact Maguire directly at markwallacemaguire@gmail.com.

Sponsors include Fayetteville Heritage Church, VertiKal Life magazine, Special Needs Dads Chronicles, Vicki Kijanksi Psychotherapist and The Special Father’s Network.

Speakers include the following:

Fayette County resident Jim McCarten is a longtime attorney who has been named, among other honors, 2017 Lawyer of the Year – Litigation and Controversy – Tax for Metropolitan Atlanta. He has a grown daughter with special needs and is active with numerous disability advocacy and support organizations in both Tennessee and Georgia. Jim currently serves on the Board of Advisors for The Arc Georgia.

Paul Batchelor is the CEO of Developmental Disabilities and Behavior Consultant, LLC. He is the author of the book, “Help! My Child Has Autism.” He has 28 years working in the special needs arena and is a member of The Southside Support Group and Exceptional Ops Organization.

Ben Thames is a minister at Fayetteville Christian Church, the founder of Ignite FCC and has a huge family, including a son with autism.

Fayette County resident Mark Wallace Maguire is the curator of the blog, “The Special Needs Dad Chronicles” and the author of six books including, “Confessions of a Special Needs Dad.” He is the father of Andrew, a 12-year-old boy who has Cri du Chat Syndrome.

Martin Cowen is a retired judge, longtime attorney, U.S. House of Representatives candidate and the father of two sons, one who has autism and a seizure disorder.

Scott Sowers is the father of two adult children, one who has autism and lives at home. Sowers has coached Special Populations baseball for 17 years, co-chaired the Special Needs / Disabilities Ministry at St. John Neumann Church in Lilburn, Ga., and is a mentor with the Special Fathers Network. He and his wife Sharon wrote and produced the film, “Special Needs” available on pureflix.com.

For more information go to www.sndconferencesouth.com. Contact Mark Wallace Maguire at markwallacemaguire@gmail.com.