1) How does it feel to be a dad with a child diagnosed with Autism?
I can only describe it as a roller coaster, and for better and/or worse it is a journey that you do not get to experience all of; I’m home in the evenings and at the weekends. The reason why it is better is that when I do get home to Max, he is over the moon to see me and all he wants to do is read and play. The reason why it is harder; especially in the beginning; is that it was not easy to relate to the struggles that my wife had experienced that day, because I had not seen that behavior. Also, I had some initial denial about Max’s diagnosis & did not want to believe it.
There are times when I have Max’s full attention, for example, when we are playing, & then there are other times which is when it can be very frustrating when it feels like he is a bubble and he is oblivious to the world around him.
Thankfully, through Unlocking the Spectrum and the ABA therapy they have provided, these seem to becoming less frequent and Max seems to be emerging from within himself.
2) What advice would you give another father, who is living with a child on the spectrum?
I think the answer this to this question is very dependent on how you have dealt with or are dealing with the journey ahead. Life will be challenging, “juggling many balls in the air”, but being honest with your spouse and talking through all the choices ahead, and being on the same page makes life much much easier; leave work at work and focus on the family!
It’s hard not to think about the struggles Max may or may not face in the future. Max has autism. Learning how to deal with that is the hard part. Learning how to get yourself on same wave as your child is the best way I can describe how you can enjoy the ride together and life becomes perfect in its own way