MESSAGE FROM AN AUTISM DAD

I’ve been asked how my husband felt about Jacob being diagnosed with Autism. He doesn’t share his life via social media so I’m so honoured he said yes to writing something to share with you all.

‘I received a call from Stacey while I was in the US on business, saying she thinks our Son (Jacob) has autism. Naturally, my first reaction was to question the facts – as deep down no dad wants to hear this, plus I base a lot of my decision in life off of “the odds” therefore i needed some form of proof to satisfy my thought process.

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Stacey then sent me some YouTube clips of other children with Autism, at that point it was obvious that Jacob demonstrated a lot of the red flags associated with Autism such as continual spinning, hand flapping when excited or upset, head banging etc….Stacey was a lot more emotional than me as I don’t tend to panic much. Fortunately I was flying back the next day.

Key advice from me to other dads would be, approach everything with an open mind and have a “better to be safe than sorry” mentality especially in the early phases when a lot of dads are in doubt – no harm in being proved wrong if your in denial right? I would say the thoughts most parents have about planning your child’s future should stop, it will only make you upset until you come to realise it is what it is and your expectations will naturally adjust.

Another surprising point I have come to realise is – and I learnt this from Stacey, don’t take everything the professionals say as gospel, absolutely question everything, absolutely ask questions no matter how stupid they sound, if something is not making sense to you then let your voice be heard. To be recognised in this society you need things written on government paper, therefore any diagnosis, appointment letter etc is of value and should be seen as one step closer to better support. And the earlier you do this the better for you, your child and the wider family.

 

Joseph

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