My name is Luis Bayardo. Iwas born into an Hispanic family whose proud traditions and family values have been “the way” for generations. In my book, Autism: A Dad’s Journey, I will take you on a journey of courage and humility, revealing the inner workings and struggles of my mind and heart, along with insight into the minds and hearts of my two autistic boys, Kyler and Koleden. In doing so, I hope I have created a little light in the long, dark tunnel that is autism for as many as 1 in 68 families today.
I am a very private person, but the dad’s viewpoint has never or rarely been addressed in all the information I found on raising autistic children. I’ve offered my viewpoint in layman’s or should I say, ‘regular dad’ terms that may not always seem politically correct, but is very real and accessible to everyone, not just the clinical community. My hope is that this book will help other dads and families gain a sense of support and encouragement on their journey. It would be an added bonus if it in any way helped those ‘normal’ folks understand why these kids who appear normal on the outside are struggling so much on the inside.
My first son was born with obvious signs of autism. My second son experienced the slow, heartbreaking emergence of late onset symptoms; by the age of five, he had slipped away into the dumbfounding world of autism. Both of my sons are on the more severe end of the autism spectrum.
The National Institute of Health has determined that 80-90% of marriages with special-needs children end in divorce. In my book, I say, “One thing, which I believe is true, is that ‘special-needs children must have parents with special marriages.’” But it doesn’t just happen. I talk of the necessary growth and maturation of a proud father who wanted nothing but the best for my children. I let you in to my very private world with humility and humor and a lot of love. I admit to my flaws and show how hard this journey has been, is, and will continue to be for me, my wife, and our four children. For a man, this was not an easy thing to do.
This book is not just for fathers and parents of autistic children. It offers inspiration for anyone who has ever experienced a gut-wrenching sense of defeat and disillusionment, and who may be willing to admit that their staunch beliefs and pride have made their transformative journey all the more difficult.
My journey guides you through my struggles in coming to terms with the daunting reality of autism. I try to reveal my vulnerability, denial, and heartbreak as I mature into a proud father and husband. This book offers further valuable insight from the perspectives of my two autistic boys and those my two non-autistic (neurotypical) daughters.
Come and join me on my sometimes humorous, definitely winding, and continuing journey as I discover how to become the father that my autistic boys and family need me to be....