This blog goes out to everyone but especially fathers of children with autism–since I too am a father of a 5-year-old precious boy who has autism and I can only speak for myself. This is also a reason why I wanted to insert snippets of thoughts and opinions in our new book, “Look At My Eyes” that SHOULD BE ON OUR FRONT DOOR STEP TODAY!!!! You can always find more information at www.lookatmyeyes.com.
When we realized William was not as typical as expected, I went through all the emotions…angry, sad, mad, worried, afraid. I also was ashamed. It kills me just to type that but yeah, I was ashamed that I had a son that wasn’t “typical” partly because I felt that I had a part in his being on the spectrum.
He has autism and I was ashamed. I felt as if it was partly my fault–I mean after all, I did contribute into his creation right?
So then I became ridden with guilt…what did I do to cause this? Do I have something inside me that is wrong genetically and I made William the way he is–am I to blame and did I curse him? For a long time I had to deal with this internally because I didn’t think anyone would understand. I didn’t want to talk to my wife about it because we were dealing with so many other issues and struggles and I didn’t think she could relate.
I didn’t do a good enough job of searching for a Father’s Support Group…and even now I’m not sure there was a place for me to run, kicking and screaming for help.
Finally I came to terms that I don’t care what caused William to have autism. I believe in a sovereign creator God who is all-knowing and therefore William and his condition wasn’t a surprise to God and wasn’t an accident. God gave William to us for a purpose–so whether it was genetic, medicinal, environmental–I don’t care. He has a plan and purpose for me and for William and our family. Maybe it’s to write this book and touch other’s lives.
Maybe it’s to help raise awareness and raise money for autism research. Maybe it’s so I can blog my feelings on the Internet–after all, I am a male and we don’t do a good enough job at sharing our feelings right?
But the biggest thing I have learned is that IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT. I think this is important for dads (and moms in a different way) to understand…just like we can make the rain stop or our hair grow or our favorite sports team to win every year…it’s not your fault…once I realized that I wasn’t ashamed in William anymore. I wasn’t ashamed to be a father with a child with autism.
Yeah I’d love for William to be more “typical”…but I embrace William’s differences and I love him for who he is and what he can do.
So fathers–as we approach Father’s Day…it’s not your fault your child is the way he/she is. You have to get past that and do what’s best for your child…love them, teach them, encourage them, embrace them for what they are and who knows what they can be.
Use this opportunity to spread the word, use your gifts to help others, don’t let autism defeat you.