Saturday, June 15, 2013

Aspie Dad

Reading through a discussion on the Wrong Planet website, I thought that it could be helpful to quote some of the posts. These viewpoints are neither right nor wrong. They simply ‘are’.
Happy Father’s Day to all of you dads out there, as well as you moms who (like I find myself doing) can spend a lot of time “covering” for the Aspie dad in your life.
"My dad has many autistic traits, though never diagnosed... the worst were the meltdowns and his inability to tolerate any noise (something I inherited!). The good parts were his intelligence and devotion."
“Ditto, except for devotion read conscientiousness. And on the down side there was also his intolerance of different opinions on anything, and pernickety pedanticism about language use. I intensely disliked/hated and feared my father for most of my teens, and my mother was almost invisible to me. My father's eyes would become like glowing coals when he was angry. Very scary.Mealtimes were tense affairs, ( to me, until I got into the habit of daydreaming concentratedly through them, as I did on holidays too to while away the hours of walking etc ), with high standards about use of cutlery, position of elbows, and attention paid to chewing, with my father insisting on total silence while he listened to deathly tedious news and discussion programmes on the radio.”

“After my son was diagnosed, I quickly came to the conclusion that my father had been AS, as well. And, he was a good father. Not a perfect one - perfect parents don't exist. And maybe not one of the best. But he cared a lot and really did his best. He stuck firmly all his life to what he thought was right, and while he couldn't handle criticism or disagreement, he did act with honor. Harder than his AS, really, were the emotional issues he had because of his difficult childhood. This would be what may have caused negative effects on us kids, but we also always knew it didn't come from us, that it came from a place he himself couldn't understand. Somehow I learned to accept it early on and was able to disassociate from that. But it did cause me to look for the wrong things in relationships with men. Well, heck, everyone carries baggage. And that wasn't the AS as much as the result of being AS in an inflexible world. It's the one thing I feel I can really change for my son, and so far it looks like we're succeeding with that. My son has a confidence my father was denied early on in his life. I hope to keep it that way. Otherwise, what is left from the AS are a few funny stories. My father absolutely refused to "trouble" others with things like special orders, even after restaurants like Burger King began advertising that special orders were welcome. All I ever wanted was to get my hamburger without condiments, and the fast food places would have happilly done that, but the idea of asking made my dad uncomfortable, and he never would do it. That the taste was left in the bun after you scraped off as much as you could didn't sway him. And he always insisted on making up the beds in a hotel before leaving the room, even after learning that this actually made the maid's jobs more difficult.
“My dad is loud, stubborn and perseverative. He doesn't seem to hear anything I say. If you asked him to describe what kind of person I am, he couldn't. He thought I did everything on purpose just to annoy him when actually I had LDs and executive dysfunction. His emotions are few and simple, and he is incredibly naive yet cannot comprehend when he is wrong about something, which was a bad combination. He had no concept of child behavior and called me lazy, ungrateful, shameless, stubborn, ornery, wanton, perverse, self-absorbed, histrionic, frigid, delinquent, immoral, and irresponsible. My first memory of him is how he would lecture me every day for being "stubborn and ornery" as a toddler."
“It is wonderful and fascinating to hear of other peoples experiences! I think there is a lot of common ground. Here are some ways to describe my own father to a tee, taken pretty much straight from everyone else's posts. Inability to tolerate noise (and able to hear the slightest sound!), Intelligent, Devoted, Meltdowns, Pedantic about language use, Incredibly tidy (obsessively so), Love of maps, Enjoys silence while listening to tedious news & discussion programs on radio, Good father who had own difficult childhood, Disliked my father for most of teens (makes me very sad to think that now : ( We have great relationship these days).
The posts do digress off subject after few pages, but I found the observations to be thought provoking as there seems to be undiagnosed Asperger’s Syndrome in both my and my hubby’s families. Thinking of AS traits such as stubbornness, inflexibility in thinking, moodiness or depression, inability to look outside of self, obsessiveness, intolerant of or unable to recognize emotions in others, na├»vety or gullibility, and childishness puts many negative fathering tendencies or practices in perspective.
When dealing with our Aspies, it behooves us to consider their own parental backgrounds. Many Aspies do come from Aspie families, the what and why of are still being researched and studied. We all have patterns from our upbringing that color our adult lives, patterns that we tend to repeat unless we make a conscious effort to eliminate.
As with all other aspects in life, all we can do is strive to learn as much as possible, error as little as possible, and laugh at what we can.
Sometimes, that is no small feat, lol.


  1. I so agree but it is so worth the effort. Hubby definately came from an Aspie family all undiagnosed which is understandable given the era. His childhood was very very difficult and yet despite being an Aspie himself he learnt to deal with the bad times without causing himself too much damage. Perhaps being an Aspie helped him as he didnt think too much about what others were doing. My son was 13 before being diagnosed and as such he learnt, without therapy, coping mechanisms to help him get through each day. No one told him to put a blanket over his head to make a cave while he was on the computer. No one told him to chew everything. It just felt natural for him to do so. Lucky, with only one child, we were tollerant and didnt force him to stop these strange behaviors. There was no one else to see or to compare him too. Knowledge is a powerful things but equally so is acceptance and unconditional love.