This is a review of the book Dads of Disability: Stories for, by and about fathers of children who experience disability (and the women who love them!) collected and edited by Gary Dietz. Please note that I did not receive any compensation for this review. The opinion expressed in this piece is my honest viewpoint about a book I feel needs to be seen by all parents and extended family members, not just fathers. The link to the book, however, is my affiliate link and I do get a little compensation if you purchase through that link. Since I’m selective of the books I share, you can rest assured that I only recommend high quality material.
My husband is a very quiet man. Since the birth of our son, he hasn’t said much about the diagnosis and the future of our son. At first, I thought he was cold and insensitive. But, today, I know that he’s hurting every bit as much as I am.
When I came across this title, I knew I needed to read this book. But, I didn’t just read it. I devoured it. Twice.
Dads of Disability is a collection of stories and poems mostly written by fathers, but also by mothers who witness their husbands and ex-husbands care for a child they weren’t necessarily prepared to raise. The book ends with a short but powerful dialogue between a father and daughter that will leave you feeling uplifted.
There are 41 essays in this book and they are classified by emotional and tangible stages a father/ parent experiences:
- Fear and Anger
- Coda (dedicated to essays about parents learning to adapt to their child’s disability)
I particularly appreciate this book’s message because it doesn’t preach solutions. The stories are raw and honest and they allow the reader to rest in their vulnerable truths.
You will recognize your story, your family and your child in the pieces as they touch on:
- first learning about a child’s diagnosis
- questions all parents of children with special needs ask themselves
- what being called a “hero” really looks like
- societal pressures put on fathers
- the insecurities that come with the unknown and with things that cannot be controlled
- sacrifices men make in a marriage while raising a child with special needs
- the strain on a marriage that a child with a disability might add
- dealing with outsiders’ remarks and [often unsolicited] opinions
Perhaps the most touching for me is the glimpse into men battling with what raising a child with special needs means to their manhood and how their child’s issues reflect back on them. This really helps me see my husband in a new light.
I highly recommend this book to anyone starting on the disability journey, not men alone. I also recommend passing it on to family members, friends and specialists to help them get the whole picture of what a father and family struggles with as they raise their child with special needs.
Even if you are farther along the journey (as I am), there are incredibly inspiring stories that will have you both laughing and crying. You will be taken back to your initial experiences and find comfort in knowing that you are not alone. You will nod as you find connections with authors sharing about their self-doubt and their many unintentional mistakes.
The book is available in both paperback and Kindle version.
Author Gary Dietz is offering one FREE copy of the paperback version of this book to one lucky winner here on the blog. Leave a comment answering this one question: What’s one thing that has surprised you about your child’s father in relation to your child’s disability? If you are a father, list one thing you wish others knew about being a dad of disability. If you are not a parent of a child with a disability but would like to win this to pass along to a loved one, simply state why you want to win this book.
Leave the comment below by Sunday, November 30th, 2014 11:59 p.m. EST. A winner will be selected by random generator and will be announced on Monday, December 1st, 2014. Comments closed.
UPDATE: WINNER ANNOUNCED
The random generator has selected comment #3! Francie, you win! Please email me at email@example.com Leave me your full name and address so that Gary Dietz can send you the book ASAP! CONGRATULATIONS! You are going to love this book.
If you can’t wait to get your hands on it, there is a Kindle version that is greatly reduced in price. You can find it here.
Gary Dietz is a father of a 15 year old warm, funny, and challenging boy that happens to have a rare genetic disorder (a 13q deletion). He experiences a number of developmental, intellectual, physical, and behavioral challenges. Gary is an entrepreneur and educational technology marketing professional since 1997. He has a BA in Writing from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Potsdam.
His book Dads of Disability: Stories For, By, and About Fathers of Children That Experience Disability (and the Women Who Love Them) was published in April 2014. Learn about the book and project at http://www.dadsofdisability.com the Dads of Disability Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/DadsOfDisability
He has spoken about fatherhood and caregiving at social service agencies, at the NIH, and local colleges and events. He has also appeared on NH Public Television as an advocate and a national PBS show about educational technology. He has written and ghost written articles for educational and technology press and is an active blogger for both special needs advocacy (at www.dadsofdisability.com) and marketing topics (at www.garydietz.com).