Every fatherhood journey is different. Some more so than others.
In November of 2009, my son Aidan was diagnosed with moderate to severe autism spectrum disorder while I was deployed to Iraq with SEAL Team ONE. The news was devastating. In the hours minutes and days that followed, our family was adrift, searching for answers to questions we didn’t even know to ask. As a father I felt powerless. The experience almost tore us apart.
Once we stabilized and began our journey as a special needs family , my wife Annette and I founded the non-profit Care For Us to provide free therapeutic services and counseling to the parents of special needs children. Experience taught us that while there were nearly endless opportunities to get help for our children, there were few focused on the wellbeing of parents. There is no diagnosis for having a child with special needs. And so there is no problem that the modern health care complex is positioned to solve. But that doesn’t mean there’s no problem.
In the years since we’ve helped countless families find the help they need. But there’s been one consistent theme; Mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters and daughters have all come through the door, seeking help.
But No Men. No fathers.
The troubling reality of fathers of special needs children is not different from the troubling reality of men in general. We don’t ask for help when we’re in pain. We put our heads down and gut our way through it.
As a Special Operations vet, I’ve gutted more than a few things out. But if there’s one thing my journey as a special needs father has taught me, it’s that I don’t have what it takes to do this alone. In reality, none of us do. The pack is too heavy. And the trail is too long.
Fatherhood2.0 is dedicated to bringing the help special needs fathers need to them. The lessons learned and journeys witnessed from years of my own experience as a special needs father and helping other families out on their own trail tell the story of a different fatherhood experience; Fatherhood2.0.
I hope it helps.