Four Key Life Lessons I learned from my Autistic son
Autism Dadvocate
by pacarroll99
1y ago
Sunday, April 2nd is World Autism Acceptance Day (formerly Autism Awareness Day) – an important day for the autism community. I will not be joining any community events, walks, or rallies this weekend (though they have their place). Rather, I will use this Sunday as a reflective day to marinate in gratitude, and appreciate all the valuable lessons that my autistic son has taught me. Below are the four that come to mind. For those of you blessed with an autistic child, I hope these resonate with you. Go deep in what you love……. Reflect (and repeat) on the things that you love Embrace your brav ..read more
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Celebrate Yourselves this Father's Day
Autism Dadvocate
by pacarroll99
2y ago
Autism Dadvocate invites Dads to celebrate the small and big wins of their amazing kids this Sunday ……….and to celebrate themselves. As I reflect on Father’s Day this weekend, I am so deeply grateful for the expansion of the Autism Dadvocate community this year. I love the diversity of perspectives these amazing Dads bring, coupled with some common themes that every father of an autistic child experiences. Thank you to all the Dads in the Dadvocate community. This Sunday, I invite you to celebrate it all……celebrate the small wins, the big wins, how you bring your personal best to every situati ..read more
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A Poem to my Autistic Son - When I Return from the Business Trip to Arizona
Autism Dadvocate
by pacarroll99
2y ago
When I return from the business trip to Arizona, I stealth through the house and to bed Discovered – A rustle, footsteps, the door yawns ajar You slide under the sheet, “Daddy, spoon me” you whisper into my ear Your hips pressing against mine, A bird perched on me sideways Your valleys lean into my mountains, Your Rhode Island into my Arizona Your East into my West we lay against one another Your home into my away, your forehead burrowed into my cheek We lay together, our jigsaw bodies mercifully melting towards our coasts Once asunder by distance but never apart ..read more
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Lunch..followed by his meltdown....followed by my meltdown
Autism Dadvocate
by pacarroll99
2y ago
“DADDY!...........” Vaughn’s voice booms sonorously down the stairs. Even though I am in the kitchen, idly paging through Twitter on my cell phone, I know exactly what he is doing in his room- scrolling through YouTube videos on his tablet, propped up on his bed with two pillows against the headboard. “What?” comes my reply from the dining room “When are we going in the pool today……..?” “After lunch….” “Okkkkaayyyyyyyyy……..” “Let’s do this…….why don’t you have lunch first? Then, we’ll do sunscreen, wait ½ hr for the food to settle, then go in the pool. Sound good?” Silence. “Vaughn, did you h ..read more
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Insomnia
Autism Dadvocate
by pacarroll99
2y ago
I roll over onto my right side and gaze at the clock.  The bright orange numbers from the new Zen sunrise clock Jen bought me for Christmas flash at me - 2:24 am.  It’s the middle of the night and I’ve gotten virtually no sleep. When you have a child on the spectrum, sleep is the most precious of commodities.  Typically, autistic children are terrible sleepers.  My own son is actually quite good, except when his anxiety gets the best of him.  If my son wakes up during the night, certain events from the prior day may trigger an anxiety episode -  a questionable You ..read more
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To all the armchair commentators in the bleachers
Autism Dadvocate
by pacarroll99
2y ago
Lately, I’ve been riding the adrenalin of reading everything Brene Brown has written.  I’ve just finished my 4th book written by her, seen both her famous TedTalk as well as her Netflix special on vulnerability  I’m particularly struck by her metaphor of the arena and the bleachers, wherein stepping into the arena is an act of courage and vulnerability, knowing that there are armchair critics in the bleachers who will be offering their unsolicited commentary.   As the father of an autistic son, my identity has become inextricably linked to his identity.  As a result, I ..read more
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2020 Guidelines For Dads With Autistic Children
Autism Dadvocate
by pacarroll99
2y ago
Become a Better Parent to Your Autistic Child As the year draws to a close, it’s a great time to reflect back on the past year, priming ourselves for success in the next year.  Looking ahead to 2020, I think there are some fundamental guidelines that we – as Dads of autistic children – should follow.  I call this practicing good mental hygiene. 1).  Seek connection – There is a natural and inevitable isolation that occurs having a child on the spectrum.  Further, the roles of father and mother become hard-core archetypal, typically because both are doing their best to suppo ..read more
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What I Learned from my Irritation With my Autistic Son's Tics
Autism Dadvocate
by pacarroll99
2y ago
My Irritation with Myself (and not my son's tics) “Vaughn, can you please keep it down?” I hate it when I utter this phrase, even though I am selective and deliberate in when I choose to say it to my son. Typically, it tumbles forth when Vaughn’s tics are getting the best of me. Like many children on the spectrum, there are certain sounds, words, or repetitive behaviors my son makes to comfort himself. Thankfully, most of them are harmless and sometimes even comical. But, like many Dads, I have hit a threshold when they start to get the best of me. I’ll either gently reproach my son with the a ..read more
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2022 Autism Awareness Day
Autism Dadvocate
by pacarroll99
2y ago
Last year on Autism Awareness Day 2021, I spoke more broadly about issues in our community. This year, having cultivated a deeper membership within Autism Dadvocate, I want to speak a little more narrowly… It’s at the intersection of three areas - Autism Dadvocacy, mental health, and community support. Having supported Dads of autistnc kids for the past 2 ½ years, and – with the benefit of some informal polling with these Dads the past month or so – I asked these Dads what would benefit them the most. What was the one overriding theme? It’s resounding…………… Connection……. ……..the desire to feel ..read more
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Why You Should Be Taking Better Care of Yourself as a Special Needs Parent
Autism Dadvocate
by pacarroll99
2y ago
by Gwen Payne Finding the time for self-care when most of your time, energy, and focus is caught up in taking care of your child with special needs can be challenging to do. Nonetheless, ,self-care is vitally important if you want to be the best and most attentive parent you can be. Here's how you can find that balance and avoid unnecessary stress, burnout, and parental fatigue. This article provides a diagnostic framework for parents to use for determining their relative level of fatigue, as well as some ideas on treating their core fatigue causes. The ,AutismDadvocate.org online forum is de ..read more
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