Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Those dedicated few who still check in on my blog from time to time may recall that I've been working with my older, autistic son Patrick using a program known as RDI.

I don't know if I've mentioned on here that I now work with a consultant out of Houston for help and guidance with this program.  Her name is Melanie.  She is amazingly good at what she does.  It is really neat to see Patrick progress in these subtle but complex ways using this program.

But what has gotten me thinking lately has been how this work has challenged me.  Let me explain.

One of the entirely unreasonable requests that Melanie made of me not so long ago was to start sending in more videos.  Not just one or two every couple of weeks, but more like 2-3 each week.  I, of course, eagerly agreed and mentioned the multiplicity of ways that I could see this benefiting Patrick.

And since then...I have found myself dragging my feet on it.  Well, I'm not entirely sure that's it, to be honest.  It's probably some combination of the fact that I'm dragging my feet and, well, it's been hard for me to find the time to make more videos what with all the other stuff I've got going on right now.  With the work.  And the housework.  And the evaluation write-ups.  And the occasional need to mow the yard.  And the single-parenting.  And the working every other Saturday.

But at least in part it's dragging my feet.  And what I'm learning about myself is that I struggle to feel OK with making a video unless several things are in place.  Like that I've cleaned up that particular corner of the house to a reasonable degree.  And that I've thought through what I'm going to do.  And that I feel some reasonable degree of success.

Or, put differently, I definitely don't want to seem like a slob, like an incompetent, like a failure.

And so, I sometimes fail to do this work (work that I want to do) because I fear to show my failures.  Which is utter nonsense, of course.  I'm quite sure that the wise and kind Melanie learns much more about me and Patrick from the times when we fail, though I know she also cheers us for our successes.  I know that failing, openly, honestly, genuinely, is what allows me to learn, to grow, to help Patrick and to become a better father to him.

So this is my goal right now: to try, to fail gloriously, and to grow.  And, I think, to become more comfortable with failures large and small.

RDI attempts to teach those with autism that failures and imperfections are so common and unavoidable that they can't really be a big deal.

I hope to live that.