Every day at a Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta hospital, they are there. No one fully understands what they are going though unless they have been in their shoes. They are there with their children giving a gift that no one else can give. They are providing comfort and reassurance that no matter what, everything will be okay to other family members and their children. Sometimes they pretend to be strong when deep down inside, they are terrified. They are the unsung heroes to special needs children. They are special needs fathers.
Any male can become a parent. It takes a real man to be a father. And it takes an extraordinary man to be a father to a special needs child. When a child is sick, typically it is mom who manages the child’s care.
However, dad is equally as important. Fathers tend to provide a calming presence, help put things into perspective, and can help calm and reassure a child in a way no one else can. Dads are typically the logical ones who try to calm and reassure the rest of the family that everything will be okay.
In families with multiple children and there one child who is hospitalized, usually it is dad who stays home with the other kids while mom is at the hospital with the sick child. Dad is the one holding down the fort, keeping the other kids safe and happy, and bringing the siblings to visit the sick child. Dad’s role is often over looked, yet it is vital.
In single parent situations, dads still play a critical role. From providing mom with time off through visitation to dads who are the full time single parents, there are many great single fathers to special needs children who are invaluable.
There are also amazing men who step up to the plate and assume the role of step parent to a special needs child. Not all men would want to take on such a role because it does require a lot of work and can be daunting. There are also incredible men who choose to adopt special needs children. All special needs fathers are amazing men.
Special needs mothers are the ones who tend to discuss their children and get support online while the fathers are generally more reserved but still as interested, vigilant, and emotionally invested in the care of their children. In some families, the mother is no longer able to work because of limited care resources for special needs children. This leaves the financial burden on the father. In other families, the father also gives up employment to spend every moment with a child because their life span is predicted to be short.
Behind every inspiring special needs child, there is a team who has helped that child thrive; doctors, therapists, nurses, teachers, family, mothers, and fathers. Special needs fathers deserve extra praise and gratitude.
To every special needs father out there, thank you for loving your child, being there for them, and giving them the love and support they need so that they can blossom.