Advice for the Autism Dad.

Advice for the Autism Dad.

I’m a straight-shooter.  I won’t candy-coat it.  That plan you had… that vision of fatherhood… it’s irrelevant now.  Go ahead and mourn.  Go ahead and let yourself be angry.  Affix blame on whomever you’d like.  Yell at God a little, he can take it.

Are you done?

Now here’s the deal.  Your son’s path will be different.  I’m not saying he is incapable of anything.  I believe our kids can do ANYTHING their hearts desire.  But that’s the catch.  It has to be something HIS heart desires, not yours.

He has to set the course.  You have to let him steer the ship.  The more you try to force him into your preconceived image of growing up, the more trouble you both will encounter.

Learn to be his foundation as opposed to his leader.

Let go of Little League if it doesn’t interest him.  Try gymnastics if he enjoys it.  Learn to find pleasure on the Merry-Go-Round if the roller coasters scare or overstimulate him.  Let him watch Barney on TV even if all the other kids are watching Spiderman.  Does it really matter that much?

Start scoring your days based on the number of times he smiles, rather than the number of times he acts like a typical kid.

And for God’s sake… go hug your wife.

Stop giving a crap about what anybody else thinks.  Put your kid first.  I mean really, honestly, completely put him first.

Then watch the miracles happen, my friend.


22 thoughts on “Advice for the Autism Dad.”

  • 1
    Sarah on May 22, 2012 Reply

    Well said!! This goes for us momma's also. I know that when I found out that I was pregnant with a son I had dreams and goals for his future! I opened the unlabeled can and wanted the peaches but got sauerkraut! I love the spice James brings to my life everyday!! (This reference is from one of my most recent blogs http://laughtercouldbethemissingpiece.blogspot.com/2012/05/why-is-it-okay-for-cat-but-not-for-my.html Never been a great lover of surprises but I am learning!

  • 2
    Anonymous on May 22, 2012 Reply

    beautiful advice for ALL parents!

  • 3
    Cheairs on May 22, 2012 Reply

    That was beautiful just beautiful!!

  • 4
    The Gift of Autism on May 22, 2012 Reply

    Yes Yes Yes

  • 5
    Mac on May 23, 2012 Reply

    ohmygoodness, I love this so much!

  • 6

    Well said!

  • 7
    Anonymous on June 26, 2012 Reply

    Well said!

  • 8
    Angelina on September 16, 2012 Reply

    This is really beautiful, and so well written. Thank you for sharing. I'm a blogger, too. I write about my experiences with autism as a big sister and a behavioral therapist. I'd love you to check out my blog sometime.

  • 9
    Anonymous on November 12, 2012 Reply

    Wonderful…just so wonderful…: )

  • 10
    Bea on November 13, 2012 Reply

    "Where there is great love, there are always miracles."
    -Willa Sibert Cather-

    Your family, most especially Eric is so blessed to have you as a dad. The world is a better place because of fathers like you. 🙂

  • 11
    Ben's Dad on December 19, 2012 Reply

    Such a poignant and bang-on post. I wish I'd read it back in 2006, but thankfully figured things out on my own quick enough. Thank you for sharing…

  • 12
    ramonernesto on February 15, 2013 Reply

    thanks

  • 13
    Jessica on March 25, 2013 Reply

    Thank you for this wondeful post! I really needed to hear this tonight!!! http://www.courageandcoffee.com

  • 14
    Www.autismandlove.com on April 4, 2013 Reply

    We have finally reached our path of acceptance…autism is now our lives aswell as our childrens. we are embracing the fact that we are all "different not less" and are working with autism instead of against it. ive read the agrues for and against change/cure and my philosphy is now..whether i want to remove the autism or not is irrelevant, i cant and living with the hatred of autism will only make you miserable…let it go..we can not change a thing so move past it and learn to love…

  • 15
    Nannyviv on August 21, 2013 Reply

    "That plan you had… it's irrelevant now." This one line says it all when battling with "other" people's reactions/opinions – AND our grandchildren go their chosen Special School (in UK) mainly because "Does it really matter that much?" is the ethos of the head teacher & staff there they call it DIRM (DoesItReallyMatter)..hearing her say that helped us more than anything. You sum up saying "Stop giving a crap about what anybody else thinks."…our daughter and son in law have learnt to do this, and now I must do it too before it undoes all the progress we have made

  • 16
    nannyviv on August 21, 2013 Reply

    "That plan you had… it's irrelevant now." This one line says it all when battling with "other" people's reactions/opinions – AND our grandchildren go their chosen Special School (in UK) mainly because "Does it really matter that much?" is the ethos of the head teacher & staff there they call it DIRM (DoesItReallyMatter)..hearing her say that helped us more than anything. You sum up saying "Stop giving a crap about what anybody else thinks."…our daughter and son in law have learnt to do this, and now I must do it too before it undoes all the progress we have made

  • 17
    Nannyviv on August 21, 2013 Reply

    Start scoring your days based on the number of times he smiles, rather than the number of times he acts like a typical kid…..or in our case the number of times they make us laugh in a day !!! Which is a LOT bless 'em xxxxxxx

  • 18
    kleshpet on August 21, 2013 Reply

    What a BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL, post… Your words apply to all parents, not just parents of children with special needs. Your words have made my day. Thank you!

  • 19
    Missy on August 21, 2013 Reply

    I believe *everyone* should treat their child that way. It's called parenting.

  • 20
    rosana beauclair on November 7, 2013 Reply

    Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful post …. My daughter just diagnosed HF Autism …. we are still learning so much about her …. I can't help but cry ….. what you said are all true …. this is a great advise to all parents.

  • 21
    Anonymous on July 28, 2016 Reply

    While I agree 100% with what you stated, you did not address the part about leaving behind your own dreams and personal goals. The time, energy, sleep deprivation and financial strain have left me a shell of a man who loves my family very much.

  • 22
    Stephen on December 20, 2016 Reply

    Thanks for posting this, Brother! My son is also ASD. It is the best advice and provides for both of your needs. I/we do this all the time but reading about it with others brought tears to my eyes as I realize so many others are dealing with the same types of emotions and problems and solutions. Thank you and peace to all who read this.

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