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"Fathering a special needs child requires inner strength, patience and extraordinary love for one's son or daughter. Often times, these dedicated dads are overlooked for their contributions," said Deanna Picon, founder of Your Autism Coach, LLC and author of The Autism Parents' Guide To Reclaiming Your Life . "So, on this special day, let's acknowledge those who give so much of themselves to their families."
Special needs dads can apply these simple tips to have a wonderful Father's Day and throughout the year.
● Manage your health. It's important to take care of yourself, especially with everything on your plate. Get at least six hours of sleep, make time to eat properly and exercise. Hitting the gym is an effective way to work off stress and stay fit. A simple walk around the neighborhood can clear your mind. Bring along a friend for motivation and accountability.
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● Stay true to yourself. Don't allow your child's disability to define you. Like any parent, much of your life is going to be centered on your children, but that doesn't mean you should completely abandon the hobbies, events and activities you enjoy doing. Stay in touch with friends and family. Call for a quick chat or send a friendly text. Invite the guys over to watch the game or for a cookout.
● Give yourself permission to enjoy. Don't feel guilty for having a good time, even if it's only once in a while. Ask a family member or close friend to watch your child for a few hours, so you can go to the billiards hall to shoot some pool with your buddies. Go on a fishing trip. Attend an auto show. It will be beneficial to unload the weight of your responsibilities for a short time.
● Keep in mind you're human. No one's perfect. You're allowed to make mistakes, get angry, frustrated or even be a little sad. So cut yourself some slack every once in a while.
● Accept unspoken praise and appreciation. Your spouse or partner may be too overwhelmed in the midst of all the challenges the two of you face to tell you how much they care. Your special needs child may be unable to properly communicate how grateful they are that you accept and love them. Nevertheless, know that your child and family appreciate you and the difference you make in their lives.
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● Take a bow! You stepped up and accepted the challenges of raising a child with special needs. Because of your determination and advocacy, your son or daughter will have a better life. That's worth patting yourself on the back about. And don't forget to reward yourself. Do something nice, no matter how small. Buy tools for your workshop or new, athletic clothes to work out in.
Your Autism Coach, LLC (http://www.yourautismcoach.com) provides personalized guidance, comprehensive support programs and seminars that address the issues and concerns of special needs parents. Now on Twitter (@yourautismcoach), look for the latest parenting tips and advice from Deanna Picon. She shows parents how to overcome the challenges of raising a child with special needs, while building a rewarding life for themselves. Deanna is the recipient of the 2018 "Top Parental Advice Writer" Award and 2015 "Top Life Coach Writer" Award from Autism Parenting Magazine.
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