A Father’s Honest Words – When I Learned That My Son Has ASD


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When my wife confirmed that our son has some neurodevelopmental delay disorder, at first, I was in denial. Does this mean that my son is mentally ill? That was my first thought. He is crazy. Or is he not? What is wrong with my son? And why did he have this “issue,” as my wife would call it?


I work in another city and travel every week. I spend four to five days in my hometown where I work, while my family is in my wife’s hometown. We both decided that for security reasons, the kids should stay in “her” city since it is peaceful there and with fewer rebels or radicals. As for my birthplace, security is still in question, and I don’t want my kids to grow up with fear. I thought this was the end of my “problems” concerning our children. Oh boy, was I so wrong?


She said that our son, my Junior and our only boy, has Autism Spectrum Disorder. The second thought in my head is his “look.” My wife said that it is not Down Syndrome – that’s what I was thinking. Oh thank God, I thought he was like that. (Later on, I read that ASD is “Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder that affects behavior, communication and social functioning. According to the latest figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 1 in 68 children in the U.S. have ASD,” according to Latha Soorya, PhD, Laura Arnstein Carpenter, PhD, and Nabil Hassan El-Ghoroury, PhD.)


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Learning About My Son’s ASD And How I Dealt With It

Autism Spectrum Disorder is a type of neurodevelopmental disorder in children which displays some delays in social skills, gross motor skills, and cognitive function – I have quoted my wife on this. The next thing we talked about was – is he crazy? My wife almost slapped me when I asked her that. She said flat out that our son is not crazy and will never be crazy. It’s just that he is different and unique. We need to support and assist him in all ways possible for him to cope with his disorder.


I’m not a bad father, but I just couldn’t deal with this reality. My guilt is killing me in all this because I know in my heart that I gave my wife a tough time when she was pregnant with our son. You see, at that time, I had a brief affair with someone from my university. My wife was angry all the time back then, and one reason is her pregnant hormones combined with her depression. (Prenatal and Postpartum depression is real. I read, according to Ellen J. Tourtelot, MD “It’s difficult for women who are suffering from untreated depression to come to their appointments. Establishing successful breastfeeding after delivery is also much more difficult if the depression isn’t treated before the baby’s birth, since women often give up a few days after birth if breastfeeding isn’t going well.” This happened to my wife and I reacted differently.)I didn’t understand her as I should have because I was selfish. I jumped at the first woman who showed interest in me, and that was me being too weak and fickle.


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My Biggest Mistake

It only happened one time because I came to my senses, thank God, but my conscience wouldn’t let me sleep. When she learned of the affair, I made sure that she would hear about it after she gave birth, I felt relieved. It took a year for us to recover from my foolish mistake and now, the effect of that stupidity has presented itself once again. My wife was so distraught during her pregnancy, and I caused this to happen to our son. I managed to give him his disorder. It was my fault, all of it.


I told my shrink about my feelings, and he said that I needed to clear the air with my wife. And so, I asked her to come with me during my counseling session and laid it all out. She told me that things happened in our life that we are not happy about, but there is no point going backward. Oh, I love her for saying the right things all the time. I just hope that she will never, ever leave me – I hope she never realizes how foolish of a man I am.


My wife reassured me that it’s not my fault, but it is here now. Our son needs both of us so that he can live a fulfilling and regular adult life. We had to bring him to a speech therapist, educational therapist, and occupational therapist for an assessment. Money is also an issue for us, but this is important. We had to tighten our belt to allocate for his therapy sessions. (I learned that my son badly needed the therapy. “There are also times where families are interested in finding out why their child may not be thriving in their academic, social, or home environment. Being able to provide assessment in the cognitive, academic, and socio-emotional domains is another important aspect of my work with families,” says Matthew Roth, PhD, a licensed clinical psychologist.


As a father, I am trying my best. I mean, what else can I do, right? My heart and soul wishes for our son to grow up a better person, and if therapy can help with that, then, so be it. If this will make up for my mistakes, then, I will have to make an effort for him and our family.