Since 2009, The Child Development Center has cared for thousands of children with special needs, and Autism Spectrum Disorder has been the prevailing diagnosis. The success that we have achieved in so many thousands of children is always tempered by the reality that not all cases of developmental delay are as amenable to intervention as others.
This may depend on the underlying diagnosis, the age at presentation, associated co-morbid conditions and the environment that surrounds the patient.
I could never have learned as much about how families are affected, and never have helped so many patients and parents without the knowledge and support of our Practice Administrator, Karen Vossen. I recently received this message from her husband, John. He is not only a great father to an autistic child, but he also assists our practice with his infinite IT knowledge.
John wrote, “The document has been such an important story to me over the years… I have it on my desktop and read it periodically. It keeps me focused on our situation with Jake and reminds me of the journey that our family goes through and remains relevant to this day.”
THE STORY GOES:
I don’t speak much (or at all), so you might not hear me say how much I appreciate all that you do. Fathers and kids are supposed to be outside and playing together on a day as special as this. I can do that! Maybe I’m not playing catch or kicking the soccer ball, but I’m having a good time.
I might not show as much love or affection as other children, so you may not see me trying to get your attention and praise. But some of my stims are doing exactly that – getting your attention. I know that you are trying to figure me out, so thanks for being patient.
I sense things in a different way from others so the foods that everyone eats at this time may not be OK for me to eat. Even if they were, that Dr. Udell has taken away all of the good stuff! Someday I hope to tell you that I know how difficult it is to prepare a GF/CF barbecue.
Lots of people can be a problem for me, so ball games or crowded parks are not my favorite place. Thanks for understanding my issues and taking us to the beach or just playing by the house so I won’t have a meltdown.
I don’t make friends very well and neighbors or even relatives increase my anxiety, so there won’t be a busy household on your special day. Thanks for keeping me safe and helping me work things out at my own pace.
Everyone is fussing around you today, so I know that they think that you are special, too. Somewhere, inside, I am just like every other kid who loves their Dad, even if I’m not sure what day it is.
Love you, Dad,
Your sons and daughters
John concluded with, “I am sure that you probably didn’t realize how this single document has kept me grounded and aware of our challenges all these years. Just wanted to say thanks for creating this all those years ago specifically when my son was little, and we were still figuring things out. Maybe for Father’s Day this year, other fathers could benefit from reading this the way that I have.”
THANK YOU JOHN, KAREN AND JAKE
Dr. Brian Udell