Rarely do men get the credit for the hard work they do raising children with special needs. It is usually the mothers who get showered with glory for being exceptional. But lately three amazing fathers deserve note.
First, Dan Habib is a visionary who has worked tirelessly to help his son Samuel integrate fully into his school and society. Dan’s efforts are changing the way people perceive children with special needs in the educational arena.
Currently, 56 per cent of all children with special needs still remain in segregated classes. These isolated classrooms often turn into babysitting or day care services, where very little learning takes place. Statistics show that both the student with special needs and the general students do better when they are mixed. Dan recalls the story when the students in his son’s class had to teach a refugee from a war-torn country how to navigate in western society
“They were patient, they were compassionate, they were creative, they were loving. That’s what they learned from Samuel, and that’s what I’ve learned from Samuel.”
Dan Habib’s Ted Talk is terrific. WATCH IT HERE.
Second, Diogo Mainardi’s book “The Fall,” is a tremendous love story of a father’s devotion to his son, Tito. He was born with cerebral palsy. With lavish eloquence, Diogo describes his journey to raise Tito. Diogo admits his feelings of anger, confusion and inadequacy at raising a child with a disability. Then, this father learned to be his son’s feet and legs, when Tito was too young to use a walker or wheel chair.
Diogo also injects "The Fall" with his deep knowledge or art, architecture and history. “The Fall” provides one of the most powerful descriptions of how the Nazis used babies with disabilities to launch the holocaust.
“The Fall” has 424 short passages or chapters that match the number of steps Tito can take walking through the cobbled streets of Venice, before he falls. Like Dan Habib, Diogo infers that he his a much better father and person, because of this opportunity to raise Tito.
Finally, and most importantly, my husband Bahns is an amazing father who has prevented many falls, when Phillip has tottered. Bahns has done the heavy lifting, both physically and figuratively to help raise our son. When Phillip first developed Type I Diabetes and I was unsure about my ability to help, Bahns gave him his first insulin shot.
“If I can do this, you can too.” So I leaned on his strength and learned to help our son manage his diabetes. And Phillip manages his diabetes well, as a healthy young man of 25.
Bahns has always viewed difficulties when dealing with a disability as opportunities for better problem solving. But Phillip too has taught his father to be a more patient, compassionate, creative and loving.