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A Father Shares His Greatest Motivation: Caring for His Son with Autism

Gina Flores
Caregiver Advocate | Shield HealthCare
06/14/12  10:45 PM PST

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Written by Thomas K.

“I am the father of Alfonso, a 6-year-old boy who was diagnosed with autism when he was two.  I decided to stay at home to help my wife take care of Alfonso, because at the time he was still very little and we were just starting with the therapies he needed.  Besides I was afraid he would hurt himself for lack of proper care.

I remember that when he became upset he would hit his head against the wall or on the floor.  He couldn’t communicate with me because he didn’t speak and this made him more violent. I had to run after him to put his clothes on because he liked being naked.  Because of all of this I knew I had to be here beside Alfonso.

The truth is one has to sacrifice a great deal to stay at home watching over him and making time for my other two daughters.  But if I were to express the rewards I receive from doing this, I’d say that perhaps the most valuable of them has been to see my son make progress little by little. He seems happy now. He doesn’t take his clothes off anymore.  He no longer hits his head, and when he does I know how to control him now.  He still doesn’t speak, but I’ve learned to understand him.  He still doesn’t want to use the toilet, but I hope he will soon, because now I know what makes him happy and what makes him aggressive.

I believe that if Alfonso had been cared for at a day care center, he wouldn’t have made as much progress as he has.  Now I can say that it is very worthwhile to sacrifice everything for him.

Alfonso is my greatest motivation.  He is like an engine that starts my life up every day.  He has taught me to find strength and patience when I think I am running out.  He has made me laugh and made my cry, because it causes me great pain to see my little one suffering from this condition. Nevertheless, I’ve also learned to be grateful, because autism is nothing compared to the serious conditions suffered by others.  I am certain that there are still a great many sacrifices ahead, but if every one of them will bring me the joy of watching my son make progress, I will remain here fighting by his side.

Life with an autistic child is very difficult and weary.  We must be attentive to him because any distractions could be fatal. This is a 24-hour job, but with love and patience, at the end of every day I will reap the greatest and most valuable reward: a smile on Alfonso’s face and the certainty that despite it all, he is a happy boy.”

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