Guest Author - Bonnie Sayers
Another Father's Day is upon us - Sunday, June 21, 2009. For the Dads who have children on the Autism Spectrum or other special needs this might be a difficult day for male parent, especially if there is only one child in the family.
From what I have read over the years the Father's are in denial long after the official diagnosis has been given. The divorce rate is high among families with a special needs child. My divorce had nothing to do with the diagnosis since the breakup was when my oldest was a baby and I was still pregnant with Matthew.
Their father has been learning about autism, but this has more to do with him being Paranoid Schizophrenic. He could only handle one child at a time. There are parents that need assistance in learning how to communicate, parent and enjoy being with their child who is on the Autism Spectrum. The following list of resources should enable those parents to glean from those who have been there and shared their experiences.
A.F.A.N. - American Father's Autism Network
Asperger Parent Network
This book is worth getting Dad for Father's Day so he can read from another male parent's perspective - A Father's Memoir on Raising a Gifted child with Autism
Where are the Dads of Autistic Kids? - Chicago Tribune, September 2008
Marino Raises Awareness Of Autism
Ernie Els Opens up about autistic son - March 2008
What autism means to A Father - Robert Hughes, May 11, 2008
Be A Good Dad - Guide to Potty Training an Autistic Child, April 2009
Family Stress and Divorce
Washington Parent Bulletin Board listing of support groups for the area
Brendanís Song A Fatherí Story
John Schneider Promotes Aspergerís Syndrome Awareness USA Today article
Dad 2.0 by Dan Coulter
Australian Support Groups
What About the Dads - IRCA article
Autistic Kids Benefit from Dad's Involvement - Medical News Today, April 2005
ASD Videos and DVDís
Autism Society of Minnesota support groups includes one for parents via email or phone and another for Dadís.
Fatherís World Webring
Refrigerator Moms and Geeky Dads Along the Spectrum article
You might want to print these articles out and place them in a binder for the father to read at his leisure. This would be great for the Dad that takes the train to work, or is on business frequently for meetings in other regions.
I think it is also a good idea to print out some photos of the child on the Autism Spectrum from the various therapies, school and home and make a photo book or collage for Dad to keep in his office. This will help him be part of the network and give him feedback on how the child is improving at school and elsewhere. This will give insight to the father that might be out of the loop.
The Run Man Blogspot A Dad's blog about autism and his son
Asperger Syndrome for Dad DVD - this sells for $30 at autism shop. Becoming an even better Father to your child with AS
Dad writing about his autistic son. Has a new book out called, "The World According to Chuck"
Bumper stickers and notecards can be purchased at Buttons and more as presents to Dad from the child on the Autism Spectrum. Start Fatherís Day with Gluten Free Waffles for Dad and the family. A treat during the day could be some Pretzels and Gluten Free Beer. Have the kids participate in making Gluten Free, Dairy Free Brownies.
HealthCare Gift Cards