By Ron Sandison
Father’s Day is especially meaningful to me as a dad with autism, I try not to take the responsibility for granted with my hectic schedule of writing and speaking.
When I was diagnosed with autism at age seven the experts informed my parents I would probably never get married and have a family. My five-year-old daughter Makayla is God’s greatest gift and the only person who can break my autistic rituals and calm my sensory overloads.
After I finished, a radio interview for my new book, Views from the Spectrum: A Window into Life and Faith with Your Neurodivergent Child, my mom called and said, “Yesterday Makayla told me, “I feel like my dad is hard to talk with because he is busy all the time. I wish he would slowdown and spend time with mommy and me.”
I felt heartbroken and realized how quickly my little girl is growing up and I did not want to miss one moment of her childhood.
After the call, I took Makayla to park and played her favorite game of tag. As I chased Makayla around the playground, I saw a mom with her five-year-old autistic son. Her son was humming and playing with sand.
The autistic child watched intently as the sand particles slipped through his fingers. The mother sat next to her son and played with the sand. I felt inspired by this mom’s unconditional love to slowdown and enjoy the moment.
I have learned three valuable lessons as an autistic father:
1. Enjoy the time you spend with your kids because they will grow quickly.
2. If you spend time with your children while they are young; later in life they will want to spend time with you.
3. Praise and encouragement in childhood results in confident adults.
I wrote my third book, Views from the Spectrum. to encourage parents who have children with autism that with faith, hope and love all things are possible.
Raising a child with autism is both a challenge and an adventure–and sometimes parents need to know there can also be wonderful potential for blessings. Views from the Spectrum shares the inspiring stories of twenty amazing young adults with autism and how each of their family’s unwavering support and faith in God led them to accomplish what was thought impossible. As a thriving adult with autism himself, Ron Sandison is determined to educate the world on the gifts and talents autism can cultivate–even when they differ from our expectations of typical success.