My Son, My Teacher. A Father’s Story About Autism

I knew my son was different from the moment he started crawling. But I continued to convince myself my baby was normal, at least from my point of view. But when it was time for my son to start school, things took a turn. 

I clearly remember the day my wife told me that we had to take our son to the doctor; he didn’t interact at all with his classmates on the first day of school. My wife told me she also knew something was off, but didn’t know what it was. She had observed him throughout the day, and there were visible signs that concerned her. 

Honestly during the initial process, I didn’t want to accept what the doctor recommended or what my wife was trying to tell me. I wanted to believe everything was normal with my son, and there was no need for all this. Still, I didn’t resist it. I just knew mentally, I was not in an understanding/accepting place.

We took our son to the doctor and he referred him to have an assessment done. The assessment was long and lasted the entire day. It was quite overwhelming for my son, my wife, and myself.

When we were informed of the results, I was still thinking everything was normal. My little one, I thought, would be fine. But in the diagnosis, they indicated that my son was on the autistic spectrum. 

My first reaction was cold and uncertain, because I did not understand what that meant. Autism was a new word for me. When I began to research it, I learned his life would be different than what we had imagined. It was difficult to understand and accept that his life experience would not be “normal” as most parents would say.

My inexperience as a father, and more so to an autistic child, made me feel defeated. I felt immense frustration, mainly because I did not understand what all this meant. I also didn’t quite understand how I could help my son. 

So, I cried.

There were many times I blamed myself, and somehow felt his diagnosis was a punishment from life. As the days passed, I realized what I was afraid of: not only of facing something new, but also, how people around us would react. 

I felt a fear of rejection from society towards my son and my family. Often, I found myself saddened how people in our community did not understand the suffering I felt inside. As my son got help and attended various therapies, he began to develop. His communication has improved significantly. 

One of the things I have learned from my son’s situation is that in this life, we should never judge people for any aspect of themselves as they may be suffering from a situation that is not visual. 

Life has taught me a great lesson; I have been given the greatest teacher, who day by day struggles and strives to get ahead. But his autism will not stop him from achieving his goals and dreams.
That great teacher is MY SON.

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Juan Palacios

Juan Palacios

Juan Palacios is originally from Tlaxcala, México. He now resides in San Jose, California with his wife and two Children. His pride and joy come from his family; he has a seven year old son named Carlos and a four year old daughter named Jimena. His son was diagnosed with Autisim when he was five years old. Although there have been significant changes in their life, one thing is for sure; they have become more united than ever.

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