We are all familiar with the term Warrior Mum – what about our warrior dads?
It’s almost Father’s Day so it’s definitely the right time to shine the light on the amazing dad’s in our autism community.
Often they are the unsung heroes, playing a supporting but vital role, having to work harder because mum doesn’t have the option of going to work; she has to be on call every minute of every day.
If our autism family is like yours, then it probably functions a bit like a relay team. Mum and dad are on the team and our child who is on the spectrum, is affectionately and metaphorically referred to as our baton, because one of us has to be at home if the other has to go out.
A mythical statistic has been widely quoted that 80% of autism marriages end in divorce. This has since been debunked by a study conducted by the Centre for Autism and Related Disorders at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, in fact the divorce rates of autism marriages are very similar to those of the general population, so our autism dads are not the ‘see you later, deadbeat dads’ they are often portrayed as.
In fact the reverse is usually true. Autism dad’s are often the unsung heroes, the quiet achievers probably receiving the last morsel of their wife’s attention at the end of each day as she pours her energy into the child with autism then rations out what’s left to the other children who need time and care. This leaves dad with very little at the end of a long day.
But the autism dad doesn’t complain, he sees how hard his wife is working to keep the family functioning and balancing the family diary and finances to accommodate the never ending series of appointments with doctors, therapists and healthcare professionals.
He supports his wife’s need to seek support from a huge internet sisterhood or meet-up, while never wondering
“where is the ‘autism dad brotherhood’ in all of this?”
Our autism dads are often left unsupported themselves, while they quietly work in the background.
My husband is one such quiet achiever but this week I’m so proud to say that he has been acknowledged and celebrated publicly!
For the past decade he has been supporting and coaching not only our son in basketball, but also the entire Special Olympics Basketball Team. In recognition for his efforts he has been appointed a position on Team NSW for the National Games next year in Adelaide.
I am so proud of what he has achieved for our son and the athletes in our Eastern Sydney Region. I am also grateful for the rock solid support he has provided our family over the years. Never questioning the different therapies and interventions we implemented to help our son and for always being there when I had to attend any training or event out of town.
Our autism dads need to be celebrated for their extraordinary contribution.
In the lead up to Father’s Day this weekend, it is the perfect time to give them an extra special shout out, not that they would expect it…in fact, for most of our autism dads out there, a great big hug will do just fine.
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!
I would love to connect with the amazing Dads and Mums out there in our autism community! I have a workshop in Sydney on the NDIS on 29th September, link to book:
NDIS and Autism – Removing the Mystery https://www.meetup.com/Autism-Connection-Sydney/events/242505901/
And several workshops in Victoria this October on Social Inclusion and also Language:
Links to book are on my Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/Dealing-With-Autism-1430376437264950/