Why Does Daddy Always Look So Sad? written by Jude Morrow is an honest and enlightening true life account of an Aspie father and a neurotypical son. The author relates his life story from early childhood through adulthood and how the arrival of his son and his quest to be a better father helps him come to terms with his diagnosis. Jude was always a quirky kid who talked late, had sensory difficulties of not being able to hear loud sounds, tolerating different textures, etc. He was highly ritualistic and would never accept any deviation from his opinion of what is right. For instance, he shares that while in preschool, he would complete the other students’ work as he believed ‘they were writing so slow or too wrong’; he would arrange everything to the order of his choice; when asked as a team to create a play in school, he took over responsibilities of other kids as ‘they were doing it wrong’.
He was an early reader and read books very fast. He was academically gifted but struggled with reading emotions of people. He was taught to read emotions by reading pictures of people and he narrates many incidents where he struggled and still struggles to understand if the person is crying from sadness or joy. As a kid, he would be aggressive, but thanks to the immense support from his parents and great support at school, he studied in a mainstream classroom. His participation in an youth group taught him many life skills and he completes graduation in Social work. Along the way he becomes adept at Autistic masking, where, autistic individuals realize they are very different from their peers and in order to fit in they learn a few mannerisms and adaptations that help them pass of as ‘normal.’ It drained him, left him anxious and often in fear that people will discover that he is ‘not normal’.
When his son, Ethan asks ‘Why does daddy always look so sad?’, he is forced to realize the truth that he needs help. From there starts a beautiful journey fueled by love and immense determination to have a good relationship with his son. John takes help of specialists and doctors and after taking medications, attending sessions of talk therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy, finally embraces his Aspergers diagnosis, how it will always make him different and how to handle the differences in a positive way with the tools he learns from these sessions. The way he narrates how he struggled to stay for the entire birthday part of his son without having a meltdown is really heart touching. I am sure Ethan will grow up appreciating the efforts of his dad.
A good book that gives an indepth look into an aspie mind.You can purchase it on Amazon India
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