So, let's talk about the story and experience Black fathers go through in raising autism-diagnosed kids…

Nick Richardson is an author, a loving husband, and a Black father to a son who has a dual diagnosis of autism and ADHD. Going through the experience of having to unlearn and relearn everything for the development of his son, he believes in the power and importance of having support groups and/or communities.

Just like what he said in this episode, more often than not, people – especially men – tend to forget that while they’re going through the struggles, there are other people – or men – going through the same, too. Not to mention the lack of support for our brothers out there as well.

But while it is unfortunate that the stories of fathers – especially Black men – aren’t being talked about enough these days, we cannot let our voices be silenced, for like our autistic loved ones, we also need all the support that we can receive.

And that’s one of the reasons why he’s here today – to send the message out there that this is happening and there are people whose story mirrors yours as well, and that we can be of help to one another as we journey this life and experience of having autistic kids.

So, join us, and let’s talk about our story, because who knows? As Nick says, it can edify, help, or move somebody, and even teach people about autism and fatherhood as a parent whose child has special needs.


Why you need to check this episode:

  • Discover the story of Black fathers who have a child on the spectrum (with special needs);
  • Recognize the impact and importance of having a community or support group, especially within the African-American population; and
  • Find out the internal letdowns usually experienced by fathers whose family member/s got diagnosed, and understand how and why fathers also need support

“I believe African-Americans are communal people. I think we need each other in order for our children to grow and develop to be the most productive citizens possible.” – Nick Richardson

Topics Covered:

00:00 – What to expect: A two-part series with a Black father who has an autistic child

00:36 – Get to know him: Welcoming this week’s special guest, Nick Richardson, as he introduces himself

04:17 – The story, the experience: Nick on becoming a parent of a child diagnosed with autism and having to relearn parenting for the child’s development

11:25 – An internal letdown: The dilemma fathers of autistic children usually go through, especially when you’re African-American

13:40 – A gentle reminder: There are other men out there who are going through it, too

15:39 – Went “fix it” mode: Nick’s reaction as his son got diagnosed and how it helps that his wife is a social worker

18:10 – The brothers: Nick on the impact and importance of having a support group

22:27 – Family is everything: “It was no longer what I wanted. When my son got diagnosed, it shifted to…”

27:29 – Not a know-it-all: Nick talks about his belief in the power of a community and African-Americans being communal people

29:03 – Another topic for another discussion: Being an African-American male who has a child with special needs, and how couples deal with each other during the experience

Quotes:

“Everything that you knew about raising a child, nine times out of 10, came from you being that child being raised [by] your parents or grandparents or people who have poured into you. [But] none of that now matters. For the most part, you can’t do and raise your child in the manner that you were raised. So, what you think you know, you now have to unlearn, and relearn what is necessary for your child’s development.” – Nick Richardson

“When you’re going through all of this, the one thing you do not realize is that there are other men going through it, too.” – Nick Richardson

“It’s not just that brothers need brothers to understand that, but talking to other brothers helps you reflect on yourself. It kind of gives you a different perspective on what you can possibly do. In our support group, we don’t tell anybody how to do anything. We give our stories, we give our experiences, we give the things that we’ve tried, and if it works for you, take it; if it doesn’t work, see if another brother has a different experience that you can use to help you in your situation.” – Nick Richardson

“We do a lot of sacrificing for our family because we care about them. We want our children to be the best versions of themselves as possible.” – Nick Richardson

“The negative energy that I was giving, my son was just taking it and giving it back; it wasn’t helping him. So, I could not discipline him the way I was disciplined. I had to find another way, which is where some of these trainings are coming in and talking to ABA therapists.” – Nick Richardson

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