(originally written & published on August 10, 2012)
People have been asking me 3 types of questions over & over since I started my Autism Daddy Facebook Page & Blog...
1) "How did you accept the fact that your kid has autism?"
2) "My husband is having a hard time with the fact that his son/ daughter has autism. Any advice?"
3) "You seem to have such a positive outlook. How do you do it?"
And I've never really answered these questions because either I don't understand the question or I don't have the answers.
Let's start with the first question.
"How did you come to accept the fact that your kid has autism?"
I honestly don't understand the question. Do you mean how did I accept the diagnosis?
I've recounted in previous blog posts how my son started out with mild PDD-NOS and how it progressively got worse until now we have full blown, low functioning, classic/ severe autism. (You can read one HERE)
I accepted the PDD-NOS diagnosis back then because it made sense and because it came with the amazing women who enter your home when you enter the Early Intervention program
Was I thrilled about the diagnosis? No, of course not! My freaking kid had autism!! I'm pissed at it still. (if you've been reading my stuff long enough you'll know that)
But why wouldn't I accept it? People come in, evaluate your kid, tell you that he might be autistic, and then offer to give you lots of services so that your kid can one day function better, be less autistic, whatever. Why wouldn't I accept that? Accept that help?
I've run across a few people who turned down services because they didn't want the stigma of a diagnosis, or other people who the "experts" recommended that their kids "were low toned" or "slightly speech delayed" and could benefit from some speech, or OT, or PT. and these people turned them down. "My kids don't need that?". Maybe they don't but this is part of what your taxes are paying for! Why wouldn't you take a nice woman coming into your house to play with your 2 year old for 45 minutes a day?! And help them progress!
So yes, I accepted the diagnosis with no problems whatsoever.
Now how did I deal with the fact that my kid has autism? Depends on when you asked me that question. It almost feels like when the wife is strong, then I'm weak, and when she's weak I'm strong. What I mean by that is when one of us is going thru a hard time with whatever autism is throwing at us that month, the other one is there to say "it'll be all right. we'll get thru this."
In the beginning I might have been dealing with it a bit better than wifey. Then she was up and I was down, and back and forth it goes thru the past 7+ years. Each one of us supporting the other, getting them thru the next crisis. Once in awhile we'll both be up at the same time and both in great places and all is right with the world. And sometimes we are both down at the same time and that's a scary time...
Currently since the seizures in May, I've been down and she's been up and my rock telling me that he's doing great and that I worry too much and to stop worrying about things that are out of our control.
Now on to the second question I get asked a lot....
"My husband is having a hard time with the fact that our son/ daughter has autism. Any advice?"
Me? Advice? I don't know what kind of advice I could give you. As I've already said I'm still having a hard time with it and I've been dealing with it for over 7 years. I said in another old blog post that not a day goes by when I don't see a typical father & son interacting somewhere and I hurt. And that is still true.
But I'm a big proponent of dealing with the hand you're dealt. Yes I'm still having a hard time with it, but he's my only kid, I love him, I love my wife, so this is my life, for better or worse...
Now if I had other typical kids maybe I'd be different. Maybe I'd be one of those dads that only want to hang out with their typical kid. The dad takes the typical daughter to soccer and band practice on Saturdays (every Saturday) while the mom takes the ASD son to special needs swimming & art class. Maybe I'd be THAT guy. That wouldn't surprise me.
But as I said in a previous blog post, we were afraid to have other children cuz we didn't think we could handle 2 Kyles, so we chose to not roll the dice, and stuck with just Kyle. So he's my guy.
And in a strange way maybe if Kyle wasn't so severe, if he was a lot closer to typical I'd have a harder time with it. I can somewhat understand if your kid is so close to typical, but does some crazy/bizarre things, how frustrating that could be. And if my kid was like that, I might be a dad who would have a hard time with dealing with that... But thankfully :-) Kyle's an open & shut case of classic autism.
So that brings us to the 3rd question I get asked a lot...
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