Being a father is the hardest job a man can have, but it comes with rewards that you could not find any where else. It isn’t any different when you are raising a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Well, it is different, just not any easier or ant less rewarding. In fact it might be even more rewarding. I can not speak for everyone and I do not have the experience raising a neurotypical child, but I could not imagine anything more rewarding then being Greyson’s Father.
I do feel that when I compare myself to other fathers’ the role of a father does feel a little different in many ways. I need to be extremely perceptive since he is non-verbal. I need to be aware of all his expressions, body language and gestures so I know what he wants and needs. I need to be an ideal role model because of being non-verbal I do not know exactly what he understands about each given situation.
Something I identified early on that was different, is being prepared. I know my sister can bring her daughter anywhere and forget stuff and they can find a way to figure it out fairly easily. However, with a child on the spectrum, if you forget something you might not be staying anywhere very long. Trust me, we know how that works all to well. I may not have a catch in the backyard like other fathers, and instead do therapy with him. I can take him fishing but we won’t actually fish. What I have learned though is the experiences together no matter what they are rewarding in themselves. The connection I have with Grey is on such a deep level because of how connected I have to be since we can not communicate verbally. Even that is a gift in and of itself.
Despite all the differences there is one thing every Father has in common. He wants the best for his child. He will do whatever is needed and necessary in order to support his children. It may be different in every other way, but at the end of the day all Fathers want one thing and only one thing; The best for their children!