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A common stereotype is that Dads take a back seat when it comes to nurturing and caring for their kids, and often the medical community assumes that Mom is the "go-to" person for information and decisions regarding special needs children. But passionate Dads can accomplish great things!


Be Knowledgeable

It is imperative for a father to be actively involved with his child's care. It is especially important if you and your family are dealing with a misunderstood disease or complicated diagnosis that you take all precautions and be actively involved to protect and care for all members of your family.  

Be Involved

  • Know your child's medical history and medical records just as well, if not better than, your partner.
  • Do your best to be the one to report medical history, observations, and other information about your child to physicians.
  • Do your best to attend doctor appointments with your spouse or partner.  Even better, attend doctor appointments with your child by yourself, whenever possible.
  • Take the lead in questioning physicians about the care and treatment of your child.
  • When your child is in the hospital, share in the caregiving by staying with him or her whenever possible. Not only will this help physicians recognize and respect the crucial role you play in your child's care, it will also offer you an opportunity to bond with your child that you would not otherwise have!
  • Do your best  to be included in every medical decision regarding your child, no matter how trivial the decision at hand may seem.  

Be A Great Dad

Having a disabled or chronically ill child requires every individual in the family to transform into so much more. Children grow into accepting young people with a better understanding of differences; Moms become a stand-in therapists, nurses, and when the chips are down, sometimes even a doctor. As a Dad of a special needs child, your life and position in the family must and will grow and expand as well.

  • It is important to not just be medically involved with your child but physically involved as well. Participate in therapy, favorite activities, and nighttime routines. This will help you bond more closely with your special needs child, which for many men can be very difficult.
  • By being more involved in the aspects of caring for your child, you are not only benefiting yourself, you are also helping your partner!
    • Moms of special needs children can often become very emotionally and physically drained with the amount of responsibility (right or wrong) that is placed upon them.
    • When Moms can count on a partner who is actively involved, the stress and sense of overwhelming responsibility is lessened, and that benefits the entire family!  

Being a Great Dad means . . .

  •     Being aware of the risks that face your family
  •     Being directly involved with the medical, physical, and emotional care of your special needs child
  •     Sharing the responsibility with your spouse or partner

©2017 Jonah & The Whale Foundation, Inc., Mars, PA, USA