Happy Father’s Day to a Special Needs Dad

My husband doesn’t want me or the kids to acknowledge Father’s Day – because he’s a father every day.

My husband doesn’t want me to announce that he works straight through breakfast and lunch without eating on most weekdays, comes home exhausted after a day of technical meetings, and then plays with our children and reads them stories until bedtime.

My husband doesn’t want anyone to know about his anxiety over our disabled son’s long-term care and quality of life.  He won’t admit to anyone except myself that he stays up late researching financial decisions, and that he lies awake in bed with his pulse racing over these decisions.  His anxiety is the reason he works so hard all day.

But he did smile the time I told a family friend that my husband is the only reason we are able to do so much for our son: finding the right educational and recreational opportunities, getting extra therapy outside school, creating an enriched sensory environment at home, introducing him to new experiences in the world.

My husband was indignant when I suggested that the Kinect was really for him and not for the kids.  He had learned about therapeutic uses for that type of video game system, and wanted to see how it worked for our son.  I apologized.

My husband doesn’t talk about the heartache of knowing that certain family members won’t visit us and that we are unwelcome in a certain family member’s home because of our older son’s special needs.

My husband often talks to his manager at work about taking time off to attend school meetings and to stay home with the kids so that I can go to doctor’s appointments.

My husband hates it when I tell friends that he becomes so consumed in playing with our kids that he forgets to take care of himself – even forgetting to eat or use the restroom.

My husband takes pride in not mowing our lawn for several consecutive weeks because he is too busy playing with the kids.

My husband never admits it when he desperately needs a nap on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.

But he does admit that he sees himself sometimes when he looks at our sons’ faces.

My husband doesn’t understand why other parents don’t just drop everything to help their children – after all, he didn’t hesitate to jump at the idea of selling our house to pay for therapy.

My husband always keeps his cool at IEP meetings, so I’m the only person who knows how passionate he is about every detail that is discussed – and the details that are deliberately not discussed.

My husband grudgingly allows me to post pictures of him riding roller coasters with our disabled son on Facebook, but anyone who has ever visited us knows that our home is a shrine to Cedar Point.

My husband did not let a single tear fall on his birthday when I gave him a photo book titled “Boys Only,” filled with all the snapshots ever taken of him with our sons.  He later said that he was overcome by emotion because it was the best gift he had ever received.

My husband is going to be really angry when he reads this.

Maybe you know someone like him.

Happy Father’s Day.


By: Karen Wang 


Adapted with permission from