On the last Saturday in the month of July, 18 fathers decided to spend their morning at their first I-CAN Fathering workshop at the Chaoyang Special School in Ang Mo Kio. These men are more than your regular busy fathers making the most of their weekends but are parents of special needs children who are students of the school. While the trainers shared the concepts of active fathering like in any other workshop, they were also aware of these men’s sacrifices and special circumstances. Trainer Boon Choon says, “Children with special needs come with special challenges and were put into our world for a special purpose.”
“Children with special needs come with special challenges and were put into our world for a special purpose.”Mr Wee Boon Choon, Trainer
On the topic of being a responsible father, one of the participants shared how getting his children to take care of their special needs son was his way of not only staying in control but also getting his children to care for each other when he is not home. He also revealed that the biggest challenge raising a special needs child is the importance of adjusting his expectations of that child and acceptance. Another father shared how difficult it is to show consistency to his children especially when you have to be more accepting of the special needs child but stricter with his or her non-special needs siblings, which lead to cries of unfair treatment.
Apart from the 3A’s (Acknowledge, Appreciate and Accept) that fathers should adopt towards their children, patience is also important. One father admitted how his own father was impatient towards him but he has come to realise as a father himself, he has to be the exact opposite because his child is simply not like other children.