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It's typically the special needs moms that are on the front lines.
We're the lioness that roars if so much someone thinks about trespassing against our child, we're making appointments, coordinating medical and adaptive equipment, we are generally the researchers and giving ourselves our own medical degrees specifically related to our child's wellbeing.
We juggle everything in a day, our child's needs, household chores, often times taking on additional roles with home-schooling and home therapy homework activities.
We're nothing short of amazing.
But the dads - although perhaps sometimes taking a quieter role are no less than extraordinary.
We don't talk about them enough. They are in the background being the backbone of the family dynamic.
Often the unsung heroes that don't nearly get the recognition for the distance they go to in order to be the very best dads possible.
They make countless sacrifices for their child with special needs and their families.
You will rarely ever ever hear a special needs dad complain.
They are the bricks that won't fall, the shoulders moms need to cry on after numerous insurance defeats, the dads that carry the small bodies of their children on their backs, who are their voices when they cannot speak, who aim to show them the world despite physical limitations.
There is so much that special needs dads must give up. First it's the dreams for their child, then they slowly abandon their own dreams, goals and hobbies.
You'll see race cars and hobby cars just sitting in garages that won't run because there is no money or time any longer to devote to them.
You'll see projects around the house maybe go unfinished or take longer to repair because they are more focused on building their child's speech mount or trying to make an accessible ramp.
They are just as tired as the moms yet most bravely go off to work and bring home as much as they can to continue financially providing for the family all the while their thoughts never waiver from the challenges and struggles that exist at home.
They pack more love in their hearts than one could ever imagine.
Sitting down in front of the television to watch your favorite shows, or off to have a night with out with the guys doesn't happen.
They instead remain devoted to spoon feeding their child who cannot feed themselves, taking over for mom so she can sit down for twenty-minutes, dive into eight basketfuls of laundry because medical needs create more to wash.
Complaining is never in their cards, nor do they wish it to be.
Their child with special needs has become the center of their universe and they willingly and lovingly will go any distance to make their child's life the best and brightest that it can be.
They have re-crafted their own dreams and hopes for the future.
And they never look back with regret nor remorse for the dreams they left behind. And they may think that we moms perhaps never notice.
But we see and recognize it all and know that it's the dads that help fuel us moms to be able to rise to the occasion every day and keep on keeping on.
Dads also are extremely creative and find loving ways to juggle all the needs that all of their children with different abilities have.
They can easily balance the act of building a puzzle with their typical child while assisting the other with a speech device; teaching one child to hit a baseball, while suiting up with the Upsee to help the other kick a soccer ball.
Special needs dads are a bit unlike special needs moms in that they generally grieve internally.
Special needs moms tend to be more vocal in their pain and in their joy, the struggles and difficulties that come along with special needs parenting.
You will rarely see a special needs dad participate or discuss their feelings openly in any support setting. They process it all very differently but it still exists for them equally as a parent.
The pain is equal, the joy as profound, and the challenges just as obvious.
Yet how they carry the load is simply stoic.
Special needs dads are incredible people.
And even though they may not demonstrate the need, they are so deserving of a genuine friendship hug or a man to man pat on the back, someone to say that they see them even though they too often feel invisible on the journey.
To tell them that they are proud of the strong men that they are and the tremendous devotion and love that they pour into their families and children with special needs.
To remind them just how extraordinary they truly are.
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