Tag Archives: “daddy blogger” “father’s day” “autism” “asd” “autistic” “father and son” “new york city” “the child study center” “look at my eyes”

He’s Growing…YIKES!

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Seth Says…

When William was born he was a pretty skinny kid.  His first few years we would call him “Noodle” because he was this long and skinny child that had very little meat on his bones.

I was a pretty skinny kid growing up too.  I remember when I was in elementary school I had this great party trick where I could suck in my stomach and pretty much touch my backbone–okay not really but it was like something out of National Geographic Magazine.

Earlier this year I went on a trip with a few buddies.  When I got back I was giving William a bath and noticed he seemed thicker…heavier…meat-ier.  WHAT?  Could it be that “The Noodle” was growing?

Sure enough we took him for his check-up and the doctor said he was gaining weight at a pretty good clip.  “The Noodle” was becoming “The Gnocchi” apparently.

He’s getting taller…he’s getting thicker…he’s not a little boy anymore.

I can’t hoist him up so he can touch the ceiling anymore!  I can’t carry him up the stairs with ease as often as before.  My little dude is becoming a little man.

NEW TERRITORY!

Now I know that all parents go through the child becoming an adolescent and all that that includes…but to go through that plus autism?  Oh boy…this should be fun!

Not only how are we going to handle this–but how is William going to handle this?  Surely he’s dealing with things and emotions and changes and yet can’t explain them as a typical child could.

Once again the reminder that there’s not blue print for our situation.  We’ve said it over and over…every child on the spectrum is different.  What “works” or helps for one child might be totally different for the other.

So there’s not stock answer.  There’s no guide to refer to.  There’s no 1-800 hotline when crisis is happening.  Now what?

I’m so thankful for the few fathers out there I’ve met with sons on the spectrum–but many of their children are YOUNGER than mine.  So now what?

I guess we’ll find out…

To read more blogs from Melanie, Seth and TheFowler4Group, check out their Website (www.lookatmyeyes.com) and while you’re there, buy a copy of their book, “Look At My Eyes”.  Or find them on YouTube.  To contact TheFowler4 Group email: info@thefowler4group.com

Progress Can and Will Happen!

Daddy and Wiggy climbing8 years ago my precious William was born.  I remember exactly where I was when my wife called me and said, “it’s happening–hurry home…NOW!”

Has it really been eight years?  Wow…some good times, fun times, hard times, miserable times.

Eight years ago (heck 2 years ago) if you would’ve told me that I would have a son with autism who could climb to the top of a rock climbing gym…I’d have probably said you’re crazy!

But that’s exactly what we did on Saturday for his 8th birthday party.  We took William and 12 other children to an indoor climbing gym and he had a blast!

William scampered up to the top of the wall over and over and over again.  I was so proud!

This is the same boy who, from ages 2-to-4, would poop and spread it all over his room every single night.  This is the same boy who struggled to learn to tie his shoes.  This is the same boy who continues to work on his speech and socialization with others.

Eight years from now he’ll be 16 freaking years old!  Just typing that makes me feel old!!!

I don’t know where William will be at age 16.  I have thoughts and we have goals and realistic expectations based on history and experiences of others…but I’m not worried about that today.

Today I am here SHOUTING FROM THE ROOFTOPS OF THE WORLD…to all you dads (and moms) out there…your child can and will make progress!

I didn’t always believe it…I still wish it were more frequent at times…but it will happen.

Happy Birthday Mr. William…Wiggy…Wigwammy…little man.  I am proud of you and your climbing (and other) accomplishments and am so proud to be your dad…and to share November 18th as our birthday date!

daddy

To read more blogs from Seth and TheFowler4Group, check out their Website (www.lookatmyeyes.com) and while you’re there, buy a copy of their book, “Look At My Eyes”.  Or find them on YouTube.  To contact TheFowler4 Group email: info@thefowler4group.com

Making Sense of Scratching, Clawing and Biting

It’s December 27th…probably the worst possible day to write a blog and expect that someone will read it…much less respond to it.  But who cares…I have time to write and I just had a good conversation with a buddy of mine who is also a daddy with a son with autism and so it motivated me to write a blog.  So…to the tens of people out there today on December 27th who are blogging or searching…this is for you!

My friend and I talked about how at times our sons (his 5 and mine 7-years-old) can have immediate fits where they scratch and bite and claw and do all that fun stuff that comes with autism.

I don’t know why his does it, but I think my wife and I have somewhat made sense of William’s fits…and it all is about communication.  UGH!

Lately we’ve noticed that he’ll claw/bite/scratch/pinch whatever when he just can’t communicate his needs and wants.  Yeah, yeah, yeah this sounds pretty simple but as he gets older, it’s more and more complex.

William recently reverted back to scratching/clawing/biting not just when he doesn’t get his way, but when he can’t express what he wants and he is embarrassed.

Yep…he’s embarrassed that he can’t explain what he wants.

Wow…it hit me like a ton of bricks when we finally realized this.  It wasn’t that he didn’t get a toy or treat, it’s when he knows that he did something that he shouldn’t have done or that he did something that brings him negative attention.

The mind of the autistic child is so fascinating.  I wish I could just plug into my son’s brain and see how he sees–someone will develop that and will become a Gillionaire!

Yes he still gets upset when he gets in trouble or doesn’t get his way, but the older my son gets the more i see that his frustration is not only in his lack of communication, but that he understands that he’s not “typical” and that he sees how at times it brings him attention that isn’t the right kind of attention.

Anyone else have similar experiences? Thoughts?  Words of advice or in addition to?

To read more blogs from Seth and TheFowler4Group, check out their Website (www.lookatmyeyes.com) and while you’re there, buy a copy of their book, “Look At My Eyes”.  Or find them on YouTube.  To contact TheFowler4 Group email: info@thefowler4group.com

A Father’s Day letter to my son with autism

For those of you who know me, you know that I barely have a filter.  I say what I think and blog about what I think and what’s important to me…sometimes it drives my wife crazy because I’m probably living my life too open, but I don’t mind.  I certainly keep some stuff back and I want to be open and honest to those I’m around or who reading my blog…after all, if Daddy Blogging and being honest with complete strangers isn’t what it’s about…why am I even blogging?

My father, who passed away in 2009, was a man who lived his life out loud!  He was great in many ways.  He and I became really close during and post my college years.  We grew into a new phase of our father/son relationship as I got older and  it was really special.

Dad would write me a Father’s Day letter every year.  I still have many of them either in a box somewhere or online…I cherish them (when I can find them or have the time to re-read them).  Dad liked to send postcards and write letters…it’s one of the many things that I miss now that he’s no longer here…and our long, daily phone conversations about crazy buyers, stubborn builders and housing in general.

As I was mowing the lawn yesterday I started thinking about dad’s letters and how I needed to get in the habit of writing William and Margaret (Wiggy and Margeaux to me) annual letters…so here’s letter #1…it’s to both children, but mainly to William who is now 6-years-old and has autism.

My dear Wiggy,

Happy Father’s Day to me.  Six years ago I didn’t get a Father’s Day card or present and now I do because you are in my world.  I am grateful for that.  You bring me great joy!  You are funny (although you aren’t that verbal) you are active, you have a love for people and a sensitive heart that makes me proud to be your father.

When people hear our story and of your situation I often get the question, “would you change anything?” and that’s a question that makes me pause.  Why would I change anything?  I love you, I love you, I love you exactly the way you are.

Do I want you to talk to me more?  Sure.  Do I yearn for more father/son time…conversations about your school, your friends, your interests…you bet.  I mourn that we don’t have that bond…but if having that means I don’t have you the way you are…then I’ll pass.

I love that you love to jump on the mini-trampoline for hours and hours and hours.  You’re going to have the strongest legs ever!  I love how you always go into my closet to get my Chapstick so you can tap it…why do you do that?  I love that you always try to wear your mother’s high heel shoes…strange but funny to see you walk.

I love hearing you say, “Margaret…come here!” over and over when she’s not in the same room as you because you want to play with her.  You have a tremendous passion and heart for your sister and that brings me joy.  I have the same passion and heart for my sister–Aunt Bitty–so I’m glad to see that has passed from generation to generation.

I don’t know what the future holds for you.  I sure hope that you continue to progress in your language and abilities enough to go to college and get a job…but I don’t know if that will be the case.  I sure hope that you are comfortable enough in a social situation to experience girls and the heart-pounding, fluttering rush of emotions that they can cause…but I don’t know.  I hope that one day you will have a son of your own and that the three of us can take a trip to New York City and see shows on Broadway the way my daddy did for me when I was 10-years-old…but I don’t know.

What I do know is that I am going to love you and support you and continue to do anything and everything in my power to bring awareness to the world of autism and pervasive developmental disorders.

I am going to continue to work hard at my daily job to have the resources to send you to the best schools, to get the best therapy…and also to help others afford the same.

I promise to work hard promoting “Look At My Eyes” and “Mirame los Ojos” because with every book, with every speaking engagement and with every radio/TV/magazine interview, someone is going to be exposed to the need of so many children just like you who are dealing with autism.

I promise to continue to be involved in local and state government…to make sure my voice is heard and that my vote counts…that they know that I don’t care if they’re Red or Blue…that they need to get their act together and stop being selfish and petty in regards to school vouchers and therapy and funding and doing what’s best for those on the spectrum.

I promise to sell as many books as I can so we can donate more and more money to the Child Study Center and other fantastic organizations that desperately need funds to help the thousands of children they see and treat every single year.

I promise to love you, Margaret and your mom with all my being.  I promise to always be there for you…to stand by you in success and in failure.  To cheer you on–whatever it is.

But most of all, I promise to teach you about Christ.  A father who loves you more than I can ever love you.  A father who knows that you’re not a mistake…that wasn’t surprised that you have autism, that gave you to me and your mom because He is sovereign and perfect.

I promise to make an impact…to encourage others, to empower other fathers out there to get into the game and be the men that God calls them to be.

You inspire me and I love you for that.

Go In/En Joy

Daddy (2012)