Autism FAQ for seasoned autism dads: Advice for new dads?

dad

I asked, and did I ever get insightful answers:

Don’t blame yourself or anyone else for your child’s autism. Love and support them in their dreams, interests and aspirations…because they have them. Don’t ever be ashamed of them…even if they are 15 years old, 200 pounds of man/boy be proud when they slip their hand in yours as you enter a public place. Grow to love the unique way they think. And realize their is a special genius inside of each one of them that will blossom if their Dad cultivates it.

Craig Curtis

Man up. Be a dad, not just a father. Take your child out into the world, take them to a fenced in play ground every day you get home from work for an hour, bring a book, sit your ass down and pretend you’re reading.  Take your child to a science center, to a farmers market, to church, to football games. They are children and they model you, they do it differently but they do it, so do things with them. Put their toys away when they go to sleep in an organized fashion, line them, stage them in social settings, do it every night. Get time for yourself, and time for your marriage.

Don’t turn over all control to your wife or the child’s mother, she will soon burn out and resent you. If she can’t give up control suggest that she get therapy. Don’t assume that the schools will educate your child, seek outside tutors and programs. If you are the sole financial support for the family or the primary one, go to work, do your job, you are no good to your kid unemployed, if you think it’s too much, man up. It is too much do it anyway, it will get better, there is cake.

If your child is prone to physical tantrums, flailing about and such. Learn how to do a seated restraining hold with your child’s arms arris crossed across their chest and seated in your lap with your legs crossed in with theirs. Hold them until the stop freaking out, until it become an embrace which it will and it may take over an hour some times but it will end in love and not frustration (Dr. Maltz, the first advice and best advice I was ever given) .  Love your child. I have 2 with autism, I was divorced from their mom and received custody of them. They are doing great, both 15 yo very independent, playing sports, interested in friends, and just wonderful people.

Don Sutton

Accept your kids for who they are. Encourage them to be themselves, don’t force them to be someone they are not.

Ron Junk

I have to keep reminding myself of the poem Welcome to Holland. I looked forward to baseball games and Cub Scouts. But we do elevator rides and take tours of the bus barn. Things that he’s interested in. You have to change your expectations and just roll with it.

Jason Wiederstein

Love them the way any child deserves.

Chip McInnis

Go with your gut, it’s never wrong and mostly right. Don’t be afraid to cry, it’ll happen often and it helps. Stop asking “why him?” and start asking “what can i do?”. Whats right for that kid with autism isn’t necessarily right for mine. There are lots of people who want to help, and very few who know how, so figure out who they are and accept their help. Whatever the unsolvable problem/behavior is today… It’ll be gone next year and replaced by another one. And….
Make alone time for you and your partner.

Alex Harris

The child you walked into the DX appointment with is the same one you walked out with. A word does not change your love and commitment to that child.

John Horton

Treat them like the others with patience n understanding.Life will fill in the voids.

Jim Odwyer

Be strong in your love, slow to anger, patient in your prayers..your child is also a child of God.

Jim Harvey Jr.

Love them unconditionally. Allow them to grow. And try to keep up.

Charles Hicks

I know how busy us “autism parents” are, but it is critical to take the time to nuture your relationship with your partner.  Communication is key.  Be on the same page about your plan for your child.  If needed, assign tasks.  Autism can make a couple stronger or it can tear them apart.
There are many support groups out there for parents of children with autism.  Find one that speaks to your approach to your childs condition.  They can guide you to resources that may help you along your journey.

Michael Giammatteo

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Thank you, dads!

Please keep sharing …

New dads, please keep asking.

 

 

 

 

 

About the author

Laura Shumaker is a nationally recognized writer, autism and disabilities advocate. Her essays have appeared in many places, including the New York Times, CNN, NPR, and in a popular autism and disabilities blog for The San Francisco Chronicle. She’s the mother of three terrific sons, and her oldest son, Matthew, is the subject of her book A Regular Guy: Growing Up with Autism.

Comments

  1. Michael Giammatteo says

    I am a Dad of a 16 year old boy with autism. My wife and I have spoken at numerous National Autism conferences on “Autism & Marriage”.
    I liked the above advice and would humbly add: I know how busy us “autism parents” are, but it is critical to take the time to nuture your relationship with your partner. Communication is key. Be on the same page about your plan for your child. If needed, assign tasks. Autism can make a couple stronger or it can tear them apart.
    One more thing, there are many support groups out there for parents of children with autism. Find one that speaks to your approach to your childs condition. They can guide you to resources that may help you along your journey.

  2. says

    Gosh this brings back some memories of how hard it was when my son was diagnosed about 10 years ago. Wow!

    For me it is all about climbing the learning curve. You have to get an MA in autism, autism therapies, working with others, balancing relationships with spouses and typical developing siblings.

    We were so lucky that my wife and I were both teachers and had an advantage in the education area. Still quite the long hall, but after the curve is climbed, you can find predictability much of the time.

    As for fathers, I used to do a podcast about autism (part of my learning curve) and my FAVORITE interview was with Jamie Manning, a musician who recorded an album about autism. Great stuff and it really helped me as a father to relate to another father. http://www.autismpodcast.org/?p=80

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