Autism Dad: Shopping Fetish

As soon as we enter the grocery store, Ben takes off running…down the aisle, a left turn…and he is gone! I take off with his younger brother, Ryan, to find him, poking my head down every aisle, checking with the clerks, enduring the judgmental stares of suburban housewives. I imagine word getting back to Ben’s mother and being painted as an irresponsible dad who lost his autistic son. Finally I find Ben. He has in his possession six or seven boxes…cookie dough, hot dogs, and Mac n Cheese among them – which he has carefully picked out. He drops them in the cart and runs off to get more.

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Autism Dad: The Blame Game

An Autism Dad reader writes: “I am divorcing my husband as we speak. He denies it now, but he has always blamed me for my son’s autism… because I allowed him to be vaccinated. And this is so true, in the past few years I felt myself wilting, literally dying inside without his love and support, and worse, his insults and his disdain. But it’s OK, because if I wilt, my babies will wilt too, and I can’t allow that. So here I go, for my kids, for myself, I will fill myself with the love of those who truly care about me and leave behind the pain and the negativity.”

I have a feeling this scenario is not uncommon. I want to hear from moms and dads alike: What is your reaction, and what has your personal experience been?

Posted in March 2012 | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

Autism Dad: Thawing

Ben has always been fascinated by others’ tears, but rarely cried himself, even as a toddler. This is starting to change, however, for which I am very grateful. It may sound odd to cheer the sight of warm tears running down your boy’s cheeks, but that’s exactly what I find myself doing. To me it suggests he is feeling something, thawing.

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Autism Dad: Be sure to join us at Facebook!

If you haven’t already, I’d love to invite you to LIKE Autism Dad at Facebook. Visually, WordPress is more impressive, but Autism Dad at FB feels like more of a community and allows for more interaction with my readers. Many thanks for all your support and encouragement!

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Autism-Dad/160327080653310

 

 

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Autism Dad: Benny & Teddy

This pic may seem pretty ordinary, except for a small detail, which is, in fact, anything but small. See Ben’s Teddy Bear, which he brought to Daddy’s home for the weekend. Ben is 8 and, until now, has never shown any interest in a Teddy…and another baby step: Ben, who has a thing for Strawberries, always hands them to me to remove the green stem. No longer; now he simply pulls it out himself and throws it in the trash. Also doing a great job of dressing himself, even if his undies are sometimes backwards. Starting to miss the days when he was so dependent on me 🙂

 

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Autism Dad: Impairments

My son’s speech may be impaired.

 

 

 

 

 

But at least his heart isn’t.

Posted in March 2012 | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Autism Dad: Ebook Teaser

Autism Dad: Fake it ’til you Make it

An Introduction

Prolonged unemployment and financial collapse. Divorce. Collection agencies. Home foreclosure.

Been there, done that.

Still, none of it compares to my sense of loss when Ben, only 3 at the time, was taken from me. That’s how it felt when my first born was diagnosed with autism–or more specifically, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, a rare form of autism. There was a period of mourning, of trying to accept and understand how this beautiful boy, with all the potential in the world, and in whom our hopes and dreams were invested, could simply shut down. It was as if the Energizer Bunny had lost his juice, and we watched helplessly as he sputtered to a halt.

Perhaps Ben was autistic the day he was born. It could be that the symptoms had lay dormant or existed in mild form. Then something happened, that big mysterious something, to cause an acceleration of the symptoms, including rapid regression in Ben’s speech. You want desperately to understand. You start to question your memory. You become a Monday morning quarterback: why didn’t I connect the dots sooner?

If there was an initial sense of loss, it didn’t last long. Out of crisis comes opportunity, as they say. Some people need a big event to startle them from their slumber, a wakeup call that says, hello, the status quo is not working. Ben’s journey awakened my own journey and set me on a new course. I sensed that I had been summoned and that my world was about to change.

And change it has, as I morph from absentee father to caring and committed dad. It’s the story of values and priorities shifting like tectonic plates. I am not transformed, but I am transforming. I have not arrived at my destination, but I am moving in the right direction — inch by inch, day by day. My descent was vast and rapid, but out of this adversity something beautiful and more lasting is emerging.

And while this is my journey, in many ways you will recognize it as your own. The themes resonate across different countries and cultures, and are all too familiar to increasing numbers of families who have been touched by autism, divorce, and financial collapse.

Ultimately this book is a celebration of family and fatherhood, of second chances, of recovering and rebounding from our misteps, restoring our dignity and rebuilding our lives.

Thank you for letting me share our story with you.

 

Posted in March 2012 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments