Thursday, 14 June 2012 17:49

Father’s Day, With Autism: Rethinking the Cool Dad

The following is an excerpt from an article published in the New York Times as part of the Motherlode section.

The cover story in the June issue of Wired magazine, celebrating geek dads, is ruining my Father’s Day. It’s got me thinking: should I be doing more?

Like building a hovercraft, dissecting a baseball, making gummy worms glow or instilling “an empowering worldview” in my child. These are just a few of the activities suggested in Wired’s “guide to being the coolest father on the planet.”

“Breathe,” my wife, Cynthia, says when I ask her what “an empowering worldview” might be. “Relax and breathe.”

This is old advice. In fact, the first time I failed to follow it was almost 14 years ago. Cynthia was pregnant with our son Jonah when I began hyperventilating, consumed with worry, thinking of all the things I’d need to learn to do for the child’s sake – ice skating? Break-dancing?

Now, there’s a different reason the do-it-yourself smugness of Wired is getting to me. Jonah has autism and I don’t have to go any farther than the basement storage closet to survey all the projects we’ve started and abandoned, often after only a day or two.

When you’re the father of a child with special needs, you have to rethink what kind of father you’re going to be. First to go is the notion of being cool. You will lose your cool – many times. Count on it.

Read the rest of the article in the New York Times

Bad Animals: A Father’s Accidental Education in Autism

badanimalsJoel Yanofsky tried for years to start this memoir. "It's not just going to be about autism," he told his wife, Cynthia. "It's going to be about parenthood and marriage, about hope and despair, and storytelling, too." 

BC National Award for Non-Fiction Video

Joel Yanofsky at BC National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction

Click on the image to watch the video