Father’s Day: Here’s to the Dads


Here’s to the cerebral dads, who read long, jargony books about ADHD, autism, sensory integration, anxiety, or giftedness. Or parts of the books. Or listen to their spouse talk about something they learned from the books.

Here’s to the dedicated dads, who take the kid to occupational therapy every week, once a month, or several times a year. Even though no one can ever explain what occupational therapy is.

To the wacky-fun dads, who provide extra proprioceptive input by pretending to be a humpback whale, breaching magnificently from behind the edge of the bed and then squooshing the delighted kids with a whaleish, “Whhhaaauuunnnhhh!”

To the focused dads, who silence their phones and listen to the teacher or the psychologist talk about trying a different perspective or strategy with the kid.

The flexible and adaptive dads, who make an effort to incorporate some or one of these new perspectives or strategies in their parenting.

The tenacious dads, who ask the professionals the next week, “Wait, tell me again what you were saying last week?”

The wise dads, who are good co-stewards of the family’s finances, but who know that working with with quality professionals is a great investment.

The grateful dads, who know they are lucky if they have a partner who shoulders more of the job of helping their little cub reach their potential.

The insistent dads, who make dates that involve nonrefundable tickets and getting dressed up and refuse to take, “But I’m so exhausted” for an answer.

The balanced, tuned-in dads, who give extra time and attention to the sibling(s), who still needs to feel special and visible.

The insightful dads, who recognize a few of the kid’s traits in themselves and use their self-knowledge to help the family set a healthy course between pathologizing and denial.

And finally, here’s to the affirming, hopeful, understanding and loving dads, who enjoy being in the moment on the kid’s terms: Playing a video game. Running an errand together. Listening to a long explanation about dinosaurs or space or movie release dates. And leaving the bright, noisy baseball game 15 minutes in, saying convincingly, “It’s cool, buddy – I was about ready to go get us some ice cream.”




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