Dads of Disability: A Book Review

Dads of Disability

Art by Casey Silvestri

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:

  • Beginnings
  • Joy
  • Fear and Anger
  • Admiration
  • Transformation
  • Transition
  • 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. 


Random Generator

The random generator has selected comment #3! Francie, you win! Please email me at 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.

headshot-author-garydietzGary 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 the Dads of Disability Facebook page at

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 and marketing topics (at

Tags: , , , , ,

Dads of Disability: A Book Review

9 Responses

  1. Gabriella,

    Thanks for the lovely comments! One thing I want to let your readers know is to check out other reviews and info about the book at (For some reason, the site doesn’t show other reviews — at least to me .)

    I’m so glad you enjoyed the book and that it was helpful!

    Warm regards,


    Gary Dietz November 20, 2014 at 4:31 pm #
    • It’s only because it’s the Canadian-based Amazon that we don’t initially see the reviews. If anyone clicks on “Reviews” they get redirected to the US-based Amazon and will see the full list of reviews. Glad you linked to it, however, Gary, so anyone interested can see what others thought. Thanks for dropping by! I am honored that you’re here!

      Gabriella Volpe November 20, 2014 at 7:20 pm #
  2. We are just beginning down the path of discovery where the neon signs are flashing that our son is differently abled. I often feel consumed with it. I’m driven to absorb as much knowledge as I possibly can to answer all the what, why, and how questions swirling around in my head. I just want to get him all the help I can to increase his chances for a brighter future. I guess I’m most surprised that my husband’s concern and curiosity hasn’t led him to do the same. Thanks for the chance to win this book. It looks like one that could open up some dialogue as to what he is feeling.

    Francie November 20, 2014 at 10:35 pm #
    • Sending you hugs, Francie. Even though the thoughts and questions come at you at once, the best thing you can do is take deep breaths and approach things one step at a time. The beginning is always overwhelming, but I promise that you will come to a day where you will find answers and you will begin to find peace with it all (even though there will always be occasional days or weeks of craziness). Thank you for participating in this giveaway. This book will certainly help open up the discussion. That’s another plus with this book! Well-put!

      Gabriella Volpe November 21, 2014 at 9:50 am #
      • Thank you for your kind words of encouragement, Gabriella.

        francie December 12, 2014 at 10:35 pm #
  3. My husband does not talk much, but his love for his son is apparent. Maybe I can understand better how he thinks from this book.

    Chantal November 23, 2014 at 8:12 pm #
  4. Thank you for reviewing this book and bringing it to our attention. It sounds like a great book and would make a great Christmas gift!

    Jennifer King November 25, 2014 at 9:45 am #
  5. I would love to read this book to help me better understand the world of friends who have children with special needs. I feel like it would be an eye-opening, communication-building and an educating read for everyone. The world is a better place when we try to truly understand the triumphs, challenges, and daily struggles of others. Thanks for sharing.

    Sue November 30, 2014 at 12:07 pm #
  6. Thank you everyone for participating! Comments are officially closed beyond this point. Congratulations to Francie!

    Gabriella Volpe December 1, 2014 at 8:02 am #