Dads of Disability™ by Gary Dietz, - This book review was originally posted on Autism Daily Newscast
Here at Autism Daily Newscast we are incredibly lucky and privileged in that we get to read many wonderful books by varied and talented authors, all telling their own stories about living with or caring for a loved one with autism. When we were approached by Gary Dietz and asked if we could possibly read his new book, Dads of Disability™ and share our thoughts this writer jumped at the chance.
The book contains 41 essays and poems written by both men and women and was funded and published through a Crowdfunding campaign. The book highlights:
"powerful, but not saccharine (stories). They are moving, but not over emotional. They are honest, and intended to foster discussion between and among family members and care circles who may not have ever truly considered the father's perspective."
As a mother to a young son on the spectrum I was curious to find out more about how dads view disability and how they care for a child on the autistic spectrum. Mary Ann Campion mentions in the forward to the book, that the terminology used by the contributors may not be deemed politically correct but what the language does convey is truthful and raw emotions and the stories simply, for want of better words, 'tell it how it is'. This is what I instantly enjoyed about the book, its openness and the fact that these fathers, mothers and other caregivers talk and share their feelings knowing that other parents' out there will benefit from what they were writing about.
What is extremely important too is that this book is not a 'how to manual' in that it does not give you answers or tell you how to live your life, it simply 'tells', often with brutal honesty the realities of living with a child with additional needs. This in itself is unique as not many books do this today, many want to give advice or tell you how to improve your life, and this is not the aim of this book.
The stories told within the book illustrate beautifully, I feel a father's perception of and reaction to experiences in life when caring for a child with special or additional needs. Many of the real life stories take us from the birth of the child up to adulthood, sharing many happy and painful experiences along the way.
The Dads of Disability™ book addresses also I feel the secret world of fathers who care for a child on the autistic spectrum, there are many stories within the book about dads and their autistic child.
This book, although written predominantly by men about fatherhood, there are also stories and poems by the women who care for the men in their lives, is a book really for everyone, whether you are male, female, young or old.
"The book is about men, but it is for men and women and care circles alike. It will foster many useful but possibly never-before-had discussions between and amongst fathers, mothers, extended families, care circles, and individuals with disabilities themselves."
In a way I believe that this book is truly unique and I have to say that it has truly touched me, I have never read a book quite like it. I have read many dad type autism blogs, all of which are hugely insightful and thought provoking, my favourite is by John Williams who writes the blog entitled, My Son's Not RainMan, but I have never read a book quite like it. A book dedicated to fathers and which allows fathers to share their thoughts, feelings and whole array of emotions.
While reading this book I thought of my own husband and thought of how he must have felt in certain situations during the past 6 years. How did he feel when our son was diagnosed? How did he feel when our son was placed in a specialist ASD school? Sometimes I forget that he too has a significant role to play in bringing up our sons, this book reminded me of that fact.
Yes there are many books out there written by parents and many are fantastic but when you look more closely most are written by mothers, that is what makes this book different.
For this book Gary Dietz collected and compiled 41 essays and poems for, by, and about fathers of children with disabilities and what I believe that this book does and ultimately achieves is that it empowers fathers and gives them a voice, a voice which is often not heard.
The Dads of Disability™ Website can be visited here
The book is available on Amazon here