Meet Ron S.
Ron S., 45
My parents explained to me that my brain processed information in a literal way
Ron was diagnosed with autism at seven years old, but says he realized what it meant to be on the spectrum when he experienced severe bullying in middle school. In order to better understand why he was getting bullied, Ron leaned on his parents for comfort.
“My parents explained to me that my brain processed information in a literal way, and this makes it hard for me to understand social interaction and abstract ideas. They also stressed that I have amazing abilities and talents like a great memory and attention to small details most people overlook.”
Ron and his wife of eight years, Kristen, share a 4-year-old daughter, Makayla.
Learn more about their journey through parenthood in this Q&A.
When you found out that you were going to be a dad, what thoughts ran through your mind?
My first thought was I can’t believe I will be a dad. I have come so far from a child who could barely speak to a dad responsible for a family.
What did you do to prep for your life as a dad before your child was born?
I read books on parenting and also talked to my friends, who are dads, and listened to their advice. I also bought toys for my daughter and started to save money for her college fund.
How has life changed since the birth of your child?
Makayla has helped me to break free from my rigid patterns in life. While I was busy carrying out two boxes of books from my Man Cave for a speaking engagement, Makayla grabbed the unopened box of the Calico Critters Boutique set and said, “daddy, look at the beautiful purses, the cute white cat with her all jewelry, and the little shop. Can I please have this toy from your collection?” Opening the box for Makayla, I quickly learned an important lesson—nothing can break an autism routine like a beautiful 4-year-old-daughter.
What advice can you give to other autistic people who are preparing for the arrival of a little one?
I would encourage people with autism who are having a child not to get overly stressed. Life has a way of taking care of itself. Focus on the moment and don’t think too far ahead or you will be filled with worry.
What are a few life lessons you hope you take from your parents or guardians and pass down to your child?
I learned from parents the importance of hard work. When you work hard and enjoy life, good things will follow. Having autism, I had to work harder than most of my peers in college and in relationships. But hard work has produced the fruits of a career and a loving family.
Have you thought about speaking to your child about autism and some of the ways it’s impacted your life?
Yes, I will share with my Makayla the struggles I experienced due to autism and my sensory issues, but also the great gifts autism has given me like writing books and traveling around the world. Makayla also travels with me on my speaking engagements. At just four years old, Makayla has already been to over 80 autism conferences.
What is your Father’s Day message to all other dads out there?
Enjoy your children and love them unconditionally for they are a gift from God.