Even though me and my son’s dad are not together, I thought that it would be helpful to understand his perspective on our son’s diagnosis. He also has a diagnosis of 16p11.2 duplication, so I also wanted to know how he felt having a diagnosis later on in life.
Did you struggle coming to terms with our son’s diagnosis of 16p11.2 duplication and Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Yes and no. In one way I was relieved as I knew that his behaviour was different and at the same time I struggled as I didn’t want to accept it.
Did you have much understanding of autism when he was diagnosed?
No, I thought that the doctor was over exaggerating.
What is your perception of autism now?
I realise that like myself, there are also benefits as I am good at fixing things and solving problems.
What has been the most challenging thing for you with regards to our son?
Not understanding his sensory and emotional needs.
Did you struggle coming to terms with your diagnosis of 16p11.2 duplication?
Yes, but then I realised that it answered a few things that I was questioning about myself whilst growing up, like the way I conducted myself towards others.
Did you struggle with anything as a child or find any situation challenging?
Yes, I struggled with sarcasm and eye contact. I always asked others to repeat themselves and I always corrected people.
Explain to me how it feels being diagnosed later on in life?
Relieved and free. I now feel unique.
Do you feel that you can openly speak about your diagnosis?
Yes, in a way, as it explains my behaviour as in the need to constantly move about and being loud. On the other hand, I struggle expressing my emotions so find it hard to open up to people.
As a dad do you feel that there are services/people you can access and rely on for support?
Yes, I access support online.
What would you say our son’s best qualities are?
Caring, creative, problem solving with his video games and he is also very tidy.
Do you have any advice for other dads whose child is autistic or has disabilities?
Be patient and adapt to your child’s needs. Don’t blame yourself if your child inherited anything from you as you can’t help the way you were born.