Please support ‘Life with an Autistic Son’ by clicking on the link and adding a ‘like’ or comment.
B’s Dad x
Please support ‘Life with an Autistic Son’ by clicking on the link and adding a ‘like’ or comment.
B’s Dad x
There are several other feature articles well worth a look in this informative and interesting magazine. I particularly enjoyed the article on music therapy, having experienced its benefits first hand with my son.
Please support the magazine by popping over to the website. A free first issue is available to new readers!
‘Life with an Autistic Son’ is now available as an ebook from Amazon. Posts that were featured on this blog can now be viewed via the book, alongside some exclusive content. Please help raise autism awareness by taking a look at the book, spreading the word and maybe even writing a review on the Amazon page. Your support is greatly appreciated. Amazon UK: here Amazon US: here (also available in other territories)
For a limited time the ‘Life with an Autistic Son’ e-book is available for free via Amazon. The book has been very well received, with several five star reviews already posted on the book’s Amazon page. I hope this free promotion will give as many people as possible the opportunity to read the book and continue to raise autism awareness.
The ‘Life with an Autistic Son’ e-book has received some more great reviews this week, most notably this one below from the amazon.com site:
Life With An Autistic Son by B’s Dad is a true masterpiece of authenticity. If you are looking for a book that shares in depth gut wrenching emotions about living in the same house with an autistic child, this is the book you need to read. B’s dad inspires, yet also makes it real the good and the bad of the roller coaster life of parenting an autistic child. What makes this book special is that as you read it, you are watching the transformation in a father’s thinking of how he reacts to his son with autism.
B’s dad does not claim to be an expert so you are not pressured in anyway to understand big jargon analysis that many books on autism seem to convey. This story is personal to the core. For example, Life With An Autistic Son is written in short story fashion due to the fact much of what you are reading was presented in a blog. As a follower of that blog, I was introduced to B quite awhile ago. The genesis of this book is a father coming to grips in his own way with the unthinkable life with an autistic child. B’s Dad is a teacher so he has wonderful skills in writing in my opinion, and he is also sensitive to the nature of issues that arise in the teaching field when it comes to children with autism.
The question arises about how folks in the author’s life interpret if autism is truly a disability. It surprises you to find out that some people do not view autism as a disability. Another point of interest was the author’s expressions concerning the diagnosis of his son:
“…it seems obvious that we were dealing with autism. At the time we resisted the assumption, in the hope that it was simply a brief developmental delay… we seemed constantly to focus on what my son couldn’t do, as opposed to what he could.”
As a mother of a 20 year old autistic son, I can remember the day like it was yesterday when I was told that there was no hope for our disabled son. This was in 1994 at a huge University Hospital I will not name. In reality as a parent, I found hope where hope could be found as B’s dad did. You look at the good of what your child can accomplish and not focus constantly on the negatives. It is the best way to survive as the book conveys. It does not mean you do not work on trying to find new and creative ways to assist your child to be successful in something he can not do like a normal person. As parents like B’s dad, we learn to find accommodations and adjust accordingly.
One of my favorite little chapters (as this book is broken down into very small chapters for easy reading etc) is titled Flying In The Sky. This title came from B trying to understand where his pet dog had went to after dying. It was poignant in that B really had no sadness to speak of even though you know the boy loved his dog. It is as if the wired brain of an autistic child just does not process sadness or death like we “normal” human beings do. It seems like a good thing to me to be honest with you. B is free at least from the one thing that bothers the rest of us and that is the death of a loved one. His mind does not think about it the same as we would. It does not mean B is not sad, but he just lets it go and moves on with his life. I would just like to tell B that I really like that about him. It is OK to be different and I like that too.
If you want to be inspired, pick up this book today for an informational and liberating view of a life touched by autism— thanks to B’s dad.
I can still vividly remember the feeling, three years ago, when I stepped out of the paediatrician’s room and back into a world that had changed forever. When I stepped inside, there was still the (remote) chance that our son was not autistic, that a diagnosis would not be made and that, given time, everything would work out the way we had planned it.
When the diagnosis came, and we stepped out into our new world, we were unprepared. Of course, I had thought at length about how things might be, how we would respond and how we would feel, as well as what it meant for my son. What I hadn’t counted on is how utterly isolated I would feel.
Perhaps if we had left with an information pack, a reading list or a leaflet I would have at least had something to (literally) cling onto. A starting point. Instead we left the doctor’s room with our hands as empty as our hopes. No one told us what we should do, who we should talk to or how we should feel. Even with my wife on my arm, I have never felt so utterly alone.
What followed was silence. I went to work but didn’t talk about it. I saw friends but didn’t talk about it. And even though my wife and I were completely consumed by it, we did not share enough of how we were feeling.
Thinking I should be accepting the arrival of autism more readily, I began reading whatever books I could get my hands on. Frequently they were written by people full of positivity, who had turned their ‘journey’ into the most positive of experiences. That didn’t sound like what I was going through.
My wife felt the pain and isolation even before the day our son was diagnosed. She told me: “I would sit at work where colleagues would sit and chat about their three year olds; silly comments that had made them laugh or surprised them. I was unable to join in the conversation. It was like a knife in my heart every day, and I held it together in the office but cried every day driving home.”
Eventually she was able to reach out to other mums in similar circumstances, something that helped her a great deal: “ I have a good friend at work, and she has a child with Asperger’s. I told her and cried to her over coffee in our local cafe. She kept me sane, told me it wasn’t my fault and I couldn’t change it and held my hand. It was a relief to talk to someone who just ‘got it’, no explanations needed. Someone who knew it was one of the worst feelings in the world to be a mum with a child with a disability, and had also asked the question ‘what had we done wrong?’”
In the months after diagnosis, when we felt strong enough, we sought out local support groups. Sometimes it was hard, to look at other children and think ‘will my child be like you? Be disabled like you?’ Some groups worked for us and others ran their course but the one thing that we kept going back for was the chance to talk to other parents. That alone was the thing that kept us going back week after week. We were lucky to meet some friendly people who just accepted us, accepted our son and accepted and understood what it is like to have a child with a disability.
My wife made good friends with one particular mum, they still meet regularly with and without kids for coffee and a natter. This has led to connections with other families and we are hopeful that further friendships may blossom. My wife says: “Without my SEN mumchums I honestly don’t know where I would be. They keep me sane, laugh and cry with me and make me realise I am not alone in my new life as a SEN mum.”
A key factor that has defined life with an autistic son has been the struggle to find understanding. Particularly difficult has been getting people to understand what the implications were for my son and for us as a family. Some people close to us, we realised, will never understand. Even those who desperately want to understand, to help, to try and make it better can never really come close, because it is only when your child has a disability that you can really, truly understand.
The charity Scope recognises and understands this.
I was contacted recently by them, and learnt about their Face 2 Face befrienders scheme. They match parents with disabled children with trained befrienders, with the purpose of helping parents feel less isolated and letting them know that others have gone through the same experiences. The role of befriender is not about ‘fixing’, but listening – and drawing upon a shared experience. The Scope Face 2 Face training develops the skills that are so important in befriending: how to listen without judging, how to empathise, re-stating what the other person has told you to ensure you’ve correctly understood, offering and discussing solutions and acknowledging where formal counselling may be more beneficial.
The purpose of this blog post is help promote and raise awareness of Scope’s Face 2 Face befrienders scheme. Regular readers will know I no longer write weekly posts, but I felt compelled to make an exception by writing this. You can learn more about the work done by Scope here. You can also help out by writing a blog post, using social media and just generally spreading the word. Scope have an information pack for bloggers available from their site.
Three years ago, when our world was falling apart, a helping hand from someone in the same boat would have gone a long way towards getting us through. Please take the time to share the valuable work done by Scope, so that others can get that guidance and support that is so often in short supply for families.
“I would recommend it to anyone who has been touched by autism” (5 stars)
“Written with great honesty but at the same time great humour” (5 stars)
“refreshing honesty, laugh-out-loud humour and intelligent grace” (5 stars)
“Human, witty, insightful” (5 stars)
A huge thank you to everyone who has supported the e-book of ‘Life with an Autistic Son’. Posts that were featured on this blog can now be viewed via the book, alongside some exclusive content. The book is available here (Amazon UK) and here (Amazon US).*
If anyone would like a free review copy of the book, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org All I ask in return is that you post a review on your blog or on the Amazon site.
*also available in other territories