Okay, okay, father’s day was yesterday and most people have already moved on.

But we’re not letting this one go just yet because special needs dads need an extra mention. They get overlooked a lot – maybe because they want to be a strong, silent and dependable rock for their family.

It might be an outdated concept but men still feel pressure to be the bread-winner, leader and figurehead of a family. Right or wrong, the pressure comes from outside the home and inside their own heads. It’s a difficult role to play in any family but more so in a family that needs extra support, where the pressure asks them to stay strong and stoic in the faces of unimaginable stress and heartache. That’s real pressure, and it must be unbearable.

The particularly unhelpful quirk of our society remains that it’s more acceptable for women to openly display their emotions. And it’s definitely a societal thing - no male is born with the instinct to bottle up their feelings, it’s a value subconsciously absorbed from the world around us. Women don’t feel that pressure so much (society applies pressures in other areas instead – appearance, femininity etc) so those women more willing to open up and share their feelings are more likely to attract the compassion and support of others, because she seems to need it while the quieter guy in the corner seems to be doing okay.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Being a dad to a kid with a disability or special needs has its benefits too – it makes you appreciate special moments and milestones others take for granted, you’ll learn a lot about yourself and the people around you, and it shows you what unconditional love really means.

So let’s make a fuss of those dads and their special moments.

We asked some mums…

What is your partner’s proudest moment as the dad of a special needs child?

 

“The moment she smiled.  It’s amazing the load that is lifted when your child can finally show that they are happy.  It took more than a year to surface.  It was well worth the wait and continues to brighten our days.”

Dawn

 

“I'm really lucky as my husband finds so much joy in the smallest of things, and is proud of simple things like Noah being able to smile, but I saw how he beamed with pride when they ran a USA Pro Challenge Bike Race together, him pushing Noah in his bike to the finish line and them receiving a medal and I remember the look on Chris's face how proud he was of Noah and what they accomplished together.”

Stacey

 

“Witnessing the ‘firsts’:  swimming, walking, sports day, Christmas nativities etc.”

Hayley

 

“Andrew (Dexters dad) says that Dexter has a real 'never give up attitude' and he finds this to be very inspiring.  He has faced a lot of challenges over his short 3 years, but has always been positive and given a smile.  The one moment that stands out is when he took his first steps in his walker - he was 2 years old.  This was an incredibly proud moment for everyone who witnessed it, especially as we had been told that a walker would probably not be suitable for Dexter.”

Lenice

 

Let us know - what's his proudest moment as a special needs dad?

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