What Makes a GREAT Special Needs Dad

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We were young, in love, married, bought a house and PREGNANT!

So very excited to start our life, to start our FAMILY we had always talked about.  We went to the 20-week ultrasound to learn about our new baby.  We were going to find out the baby’s gender if we could, but didn’t care one way or the other.  All we cared about?

“Please let our tiny baby be healthy.”

3 pregnancies, 3 ultrasounds, 3 healthy children.  We were blessed!

But then our life deviated from the path we had thought we were on.  Our ship in “typical” waters sailed to a new territory, and we were taken to a different world where we didn’t know what was happening or what to do.

At times, it felt like a desolate island.

We became special needs parents.

I write all the time about becoming a special needs mom.  About learning about autism, my children, their obstacles and how we work together to spread awareness and understanding.

But I am not driving this ship alone.  There is a special needs dad.

Here is what a GREAT special needs dad looks like in this house.

He is:

A Worker

I had to leave the work force and brought my kids home from daycare.  My husband carries the burden to financially support our family.  That is a huge responsibility.


On Focus

Never concerned what others think, the focus is always on the right spot.  What does my family need?  What do my kids need?  That is what I need to do.  That is where I need to be.


A Supporter

When I feel like I have failed.  When I have yelled or cried instead of standing strong, my husband will say, “It’s okay.   I have been there before, too.  We are doing the best we can.”



One Phone Call Away

I get all the teacher notes, the calls, go to all the appointments.  I am first hand “in the know.”  I know my husband wants to be there.  He wants to know what is happening first hand, but has to work.  I know he is always one phone call away.


A Celebrator

When you see your child do something you weren’t sure they would ever be able to do – something you took for granted before – you celebrate.  We share those moments and successes together.




A Reality – Checker

Things aren’t good or bad.  They are just different

A Joker

Always one to bring a smile to everyone’s faces




A Protector

Until his kids can stand up for themselves, he will be there to protect against the bullies and negative people.  He is a wall that stops bad words from hurting different kids.


An Encourager

He will always be there with you when you need him.  He will always let you know, “you can do it!”


A Sharer

The good and/or bad moments create such enormous feelings that we share.  Sitting with a child that has screamed for hours can break you down.   Hearing your child say “yes” for the first time when he is about to turn 4 can bring you joy you will never know.  “These are moments you can never explain to others.”

Everyone just better lookout when Declan starts using the potty!  This house is going to explode with joy!


An Advocate

He is a parent of children with autism.  He learns about the disorder and ways to help his children gain acceptance.



These are the traits that make on awesome dad to all his kids.



17 thoughts on “What Makes a GREAT Special Needs Dad

  1. He sounds much better than my father is with my little brother. Beating the kids helps no one! Constant screaming at all of us, doesn’t do anything other than stress everyone out with severe headaches. At the time I was afraid to tell anyone what happened in our home, because my father told us our grandparents wouldn’t like us if we told. Both me and my baby brother moved far away!

    My little brother still lives with my parents. He did move out of the house after he got married. Two kids and a divorce later he moved back in to my parent’s house. There is constant problems at home. I’m sorry, but my little brother is not the cause of all the stress in the world!

  2. Wonderful that you have written this. It is a great reminder that although the Dad may be working and not always present during the days the Dad is still a crucial linchpin in the family. Having young children is a challenge for any couple ( the time demands, the energy demands) but having children with special needs is something that has derailed many relationships. So it is so nice to read about this Dad and to know how important he is for the family and also for you!

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