Film documentary ‘Do it Differently’ – Dads talk about autism

DamianDamian Gobel

You say in the film that Nathan is treated the same as his brothers. What do you enjoy doing as a family? You mention that you have to be creative.

We do “try” to treat Nathan the same as his brothers, however, it is a challenge and we have to really focus our attention on not helping him too much.  Communication is very hard for him and he likes static or structured activities.  We try to do dynamic things together like some board games, hikes in our neighborhood or shooting the basketball.

What do you and Nathan enjoy doing together?  

Other than above…and like all three of my son’s, I enjoy spending time with Nathan on a one on one basis.  For example, if we take a trip to the grocery store, we’ll write the list together, he will help read from the list, push the cart and help with the checkout.  He needs constant cues to keep focused and I do most of the talking but I enjoy our time together.

Damianpic

I love it in the film when you tell of how you get to hold your eleven-year-old’son’s hand, in that you get to do this for longer than other dad’s. I thought that this was a beautiful statement. How is Nathan now when out and about? Do you still hold his hand?

He is 15 now and is as tall as me (actually slightly taller than me but I am in denial:).  I still get to hold his hand, and so does his Mom, but mostly now because of safety reasons…like in a parking lot or along a busy street – (he does not notice the danger of cars like we do).  When out and about..I don’t hold his hand as much because I want him to be as independent as possible, and I don’t want to embarrass him:)

Are his younger brothers fiercely protective of him?

I would say his brothers are not any more protective than any other sibling relationship.  With the exception of when he is at school, Nathan is with his Mom or me…so the twins don’t have to really be fiercely protective.

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