Saturday, June 18, 2011

An Autism Dad on Feelings and Manhood

From Lisa Jo Rudy's blog on
First, full disclosure: I do know Dr. Robert Naseef, author of this guest blog. I met him first at a support group for families with special needs children to which I was invited by a friend. While I didn't continue with the group, I did continue to hear about Dr. Naseef's work at Alternative Choices, where he and his wife Cindy Ariel offer support and resources to families coping with the stress of a serious disability. Over the years, Rob has contributed both to this site and to the autism community, through articles and books. Rob is the father of a son with profound autism, and his ability to turn his bitter experience into a vocation is inspirational.

Film Director Charles Jones was speechless with excitement when he held his son for the first time. He put his feelings into words in his YouTube video "Autistic Like Me."
"When he arrived I had a son, a miniature version of me. I had someone to whom I could impart my values. For a father, a son is a mirror in which he sees himself, and I couldn't wait to watch him grow. I would teach him everything I know in order that one day he would be a better version of me." As I related to Charles, I reflected how I also wanted to be a better version of my father when I held my son Tariq for the first time 31 years ago.
Two and a half years later, the mirror broke for Charles when Malik Jones was diagnosed with autism. "It was like a rebirth, only this time I was devastated...I felt guilt, shame, hurt, and most of all cheated. Why me? Why Malik?"

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