DFWChild / Articles / MomLife / Moms We Love / Dawn Neufeld

Dawn Neufeld

“It’s the coolest job ever — from chatting with Jane Pauley in the studio to jamming out with country superstars Parmalee, there’s never a dull moment. I’m checking off bucket-list items daily,” quips 37-year-old Dawn Neufeld.  
Dawn is referring to her gig as co-host of entertainment talk show The Broadcast. And while she joined the crew of the KTXD show relatively recently, she’s certainly no stranger to being in the public eye. The mother of two has appeared on a variety of television shows, including VH1’s Football Wives. As the reigning Mrs. Frisco, you can bet she’s had and continues to have plenty of meet-and-greets and photo opportunities. 
Sure, she can go by Mrs. Ryan Neufeld — she’s been married to her college sweetheart and the former NFL player since 2001. However, the gorgeous wife and proud mom has more than a couple of titles of her own to choose from— attorney, actress, community activist … the list goes on. Balancing a career and family life is tough enough, but juggling multiple careers along with parenting young kids (William, 9, and Bryn, 6), one of whom has been diagnosed with autism, adds a new dimension to an already demanding situation.  
Undaunted, Dawn aims to cover all of her bases — at least to a certain degree. “I believe you can have it all,” she says. “But I don’t think you can have it all at 100 percent. If you’re spending 80 percent of your time on your career, you’re probably neglecting your family (or even yourself). When I find that balance getting difficult, I make changes.”  
Putting her legal career on hold is one of the changes Dawn made in order to focus on her children and hosting duties on The Broadcast. “The law will always be there, but I’ve got about five or six more years before my daughter absolutely hates me. Because all daughters eventually hate their moms, right?” she jokes. “I’ve got to enjoy these happy moments while they last.” 
And when it comes to son William, caring for him requires even more focus. He received a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder when he was 3 years old, but Dawn’s instincts told her as much when her son was much younger. During his 18-month appointment, it was Dawn who had to tell Will’s pediatrician to evaluate him for autism. “She looked at me in shock and I just nodded my head and said, ‘Yes.’” Dawn recalls. “She told me she didn’t think there was anything to worry about, but I knew the lack of language, stimming and repetitive behaviors indicated otherwise.”  
Dawn also remembers the times she took William to Gymboree class and he would repeatedly go up and down the same slide for an hour — long after the other kids had moved on to the next activity. By then she knew something wasn’t right. At 19 months old, William was already in occupational, physical and speech therapy.  
The Neufelds’ new reality was a hard one to swallow. “When we finally heard the words, ‘he has autism,’ we were devastated,” Dawn admits. “No parent ever wants to hear those words. But we allowed ourselves some time to mourn, then we hunkered down to do everything in our power to get Will the help he needed.” 
Fortunately for Dawn and Ryan — who was playing with the Buffalo Bills when they had William — they had the means necessary to get the therapy Will required, as well as additional help to steer through their son’s early childhood years.      
Many saw exactly what Dawn was going through while Football Wives was on the air. Though it was difficult at times to go through the ups and downs of dealing with William’s diagnosis, especially when the cameras were rolling, it wasn’t in vain. Dawn says that the feedback she received from viewers on her Facebook page ranged from supportive comments to gratitude for alerting them to their own children’s signs of having autism.  
William has come a long way from his toddler days. He has turned out to be quite the athlete himself, playing soccer, baseball and bowling with his pals in the Frisco Miracle League. Another love of his is the iPad. Dawn can’t sing the tablet high enough praises, stressing that it was responsible for giving her son a way to communicate. He has even taught himself language and geography through educational video segments off of YouTube. And the more he finds his voice through the “virtual world,” the more his person-to-person interaction improves.    

While Saturday mornings are usually dedicated to William’s Miracle League games, the rest of the weekend remains relatively low-key, save for the occasional must-attend event. Sundays are reserved for church and preparing for the week ahead. 
Weeknights are a completely different story. Take a peek into Dawn’s datebook and you’ll likely see it filled with charity events, Junior League meetings and more, week after week. But she has her limits. She says, “I hate turning down invitations to help out at charity events, but sometimes I have to be a little selfish and just say ‘no’ so I can devote the time to my family.”  
Like any good mom, Dawn keeps her family at the top of her priority list. And while many look up to her for inspiration, Dawn often finds hers through a determined 9-year-old. “Will has been such an incredible gift,” she asserts. “That child has taught me to truly appreciate overcoming adversity. He’s already overcome so many obstacles and defied so many odds — he taught me to not put limits on his potential a long time ago.”