An Autism Diary

A day in the life of David Hartley

A Dad’s Perspective – Guest Post by Bacon and Juice Boxes

I was asked to write a post about raising a child with Autism from a Dad’s perspective. Seems simple enough… it’s the only perspective I have.

How do I put this diplomatically?

Men are boneheads.

It’s just a fact, don’t even bother feigning outrage, guys. And shut up about stereotypes… I’m speaking in general terms here.

Men have this natural need to fix things… even if we suck at it. We measure our value by our ability to tinker, fiddle and fuss with something broken until it works better… or is rendered completely useless by our tinkering, fiddling or fussing… at which time we toss it in the garbage and curse the foreign company that designed such low-quality crap.

Once you understand this universal truth, you can begin to understand the trouble new Dads have in dealing with their child’s diagnosis. We are supposed to fix things. We are supposed to be the rock… the boss… the one with all the answers (why are you laughing, ladies?). Then we are smacked in the mouth by this beautiful, wonderful new creature who turns out to have special needs. And we realize there is not a damned thing we can do to fix it (so we think).

So we bury our fear… our sadness… our humiliation and we begin to boneheaddedly try to fix him anyway by trying to shoe-horn our Autistic child into this preconceived image of growing up.

And we fail. Miserably.

We force him to play games he has no interest in. We cram toys in his hands he couldn’t care less about. We hide and throw away his most treasured possessions because they don’t fit our stupid vision of age and gender propriety.

Then we get angry… and lash out at the ones we love… and cast blame.

Then we come to a crossroads. We arrive at a junction where we can turn left towards introspection, brutal honesty with ourselves, humility and change. Or we can turn right towards destruction of our marriage, isolation and inflicting pain on our loved ones.

The best of us struggle daily with that intersection, but we make a conscious decision to plow through the left path and commit to becoming better for our family.

The others… don’t. And resentment builds. And that’s tragic.

But here’s the bright side: The paths are crammed with exits and U-turns. It’s never too late to stop and ask for directions and make the decision to turn around and go the other way.

So here is my advice for the Dads out there barreling down the wrong path: Look ahead of you… that’s a cliff. Cut the crap and go hug your wife. Stop trying to fix your child and spend some time trying to understand him.

Hell, let him drive for a while. I think you might find it exhilarating. You bonehead.

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For more from this writer,
visit his blog at
Bacon and Juice Boxes

Post highlights:
1 2 3 4
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He also happens to be a police officer and runs a community
page on facebook on Autism and Police and how to help the situation get better 🙂

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For more from the blog event
Autism: The Bigger Picture
please visit here. Thanks for reading! : )
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5 Comments

  1. Thank you. An inspiring read. 🙂

  2. Thanks Bacon Dad. I have been trying to convince my husband for years that he is a bonehead but now here it is in writing from an authority!! Seriously, nice perspective! PEACE from the Laughter, Could be the Missing Piece mum!!

  3. caffieneplease

    Love this post!

  4. Mark Casper

    For the Dad’s that are not boneheads, who love their sons or daughters as God presented them and who lovingly accept the bad but never miss the far greater good in the gift they received … I would beg to differ.

    Each autistic child is different and special and unique … So are the moms and/or dads who care for them.

    This type of stuff may make the mom’s laugh, like Tim Allen’s “Men are Pigs” routine, but it does nothing to motivate the actual dads that read these blogs … You know, the ones who are here precisely because they are trying desperately to do everything they can to make their child’s life better?

    I would say to them, the very fact you think you aren’t doing enough … usually proves that you are. Don’t ever let people tell you different. We are all just human beings. We won’t get this right every time. Just keep striving, and keep dreaming with your child and there will eventually come a day when you, and and more importantly your child, will know you DID do all you could for them. That you were up to the monumental challenge you have been given. That your child will someday be all they can be, what ever that may mean for them.

    I would also say that as you remain focused on that eventual destination … don’t forget to enjoy the ride. These kids are pretty wonderful much more often than not.

    • Thank-you for your response here. 🙂 I am glad you felt free to speak your view as well. 🙂 If you follow some of the links I included to other articles of his, you will be able to see he shares the same sentiments as you overall.

      Thank-you very much for this comment though and even more so for being a great dad to your child/children. : ) Bless you : )

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