While mothers are usually the main caregivers of children with special needs, fathers are the ones who keep the family unit intact behind the scenes.  In many ways, being a father is to also be the silent hero.  It’s finally time to break that silence.  Here are ten reasons (from personal experience) why the special needs dad is superhuman:

  1. The special needs dad is first to hear about the diagnosis. He keeps himself composed for the sake of his wife and kids as she holds him with teary eyes.  He voluntarily puts the weight of the world upon his shoulders out of love.

  2. On top of dealing with the troubles of finance, maintenance, and medical funding, he keeps the bigger issues to himself so not to add more stress to everyone’s lives. He solves those problems on his own and continues without a word of complaint.

  3. Worry is endless while working. Not being near his child makes him feel helpless and weary.  That call from home is constantly on his mind, but he still retains his concentration.  Even during hospital stays, he conjures the strength to continue being the breadwinner.  His determination never ceases.

  4. Despite his incredibly hectic schedule, he somehow always manages to be there for medical appointments and checkups. When he doesn’t have time, he makes the time, even in difficult situations.  Family is his priority, no matter the cost.

  5. Because of the expenses resulting from the disability, being frugal, resourceful, and handy are a must. He keeps the house in order with research and learning, applying the knowledge to the best of his abilities.  He invents things to assist his child’s everyday needs and repairs equipment to save money.

  6. He is heartbroken, every time a friend or relative mentions about physically playing with their children, while the future of his son is up in the air. He feels disappointed and guilty all the same, but finds the courage to be genuinely proud of his boy.

  7. With so much on his plate, the lack of free time can easily turn his son resentful. He lets him stay angry because the child doesn’t understand.  Everything is better eventually, but not before a collision of testosterone.  His love is unconditional, however much it hurts.

  8. He is the one who does most of the grunt work, including physiotherapy and heavy lifting. His physical strength possesses the capacity for accomplishing impossible feats.  Although his hands are rough, he is selflessly willing to put himself in his son’s shoes and find a balance.  He shifts his style, according to the needs of others.

  9. Even though there is a severely disabled child involved, his wife remains to be number one. He is an example, that despite circumstance, caring for others is still the most important.  He teaches his boy that limitations don’t make him better than anyone else.

  10. Sometimes when the unfortunate happens and the child is no longer in our world, the special needs dad not only bears the burden of losing his son, but also falls apart at the sound of his wife’s tears. He cries with her, wanting to carry the weight of her world upon his shoulders.  He becomes a special needs husband because he is strong enough.

My father gave up a high paying career so that my sister and I could have a brighter future in Canada.  He started his own business at the time I was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy.  There was much uncertainty, but Dad made things okay with just his bare hands.  I don’t know how he did it, only that he must have had some sort of super power.