March 10, 2020

18 Alan Haefele on being a dad of a child with autism

18 Alan Haefele on being a dad of a child with autism

Alan Haefele is an entrepreneur from South Africa. He has been married to Christy for 14 years and together they have four children. Three boys and one baby girl. Alans oldest son has autism.

Alan Haefele is an entrepreneur from South Africa. He has been married to Christy for 14 years and together they have four children. Three boys and one baby girl. Alans oldest son has autism. Alan’s shares, explanations and insights were truly valuable and personally I learnt a lot from his experience shares.

Alan takes us through his own journey as a dad, his initial denial phase, his learnings, his son’s symptoms and the stigma attached to autism. I love Alan’s practical advice on the topic and it is obvious that he has gone through some healthy introspection and applies himself with this.

Alan shares how the autism affects his relationship and the rest of the family and how they deal with it as a family. In short Alan opens up and allows us a beautiful insight into a family affected by autism in a very positive and approachable manner.

The most powerful takeaways for me as a dad where:

  1. Seeking perfection as a dad is not sustainable. Humour helps - mostly.
  2. The spectrum is wide and fluid and I realise now that more people are actually on the spectrum than I ever thought. Take it one symptom at a time. It’s important to make boundaries clear for outsiders when it comes to your own family matters.
  3. Ritualising solutions that have proven successful is a very powerful strategy.

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Correction: Following the podcast, Alan messaged me just to wrap up his incomplete comments on SMA that he couldn’t recall in the recording (around 46 minutes in). He wrote: “..SMA is the childhood onset of ALS, both debilitating motor neuron diseases. Apologies for blanking Philipp, I was also confusing Christopher Reeves with another actor, Christopher doesn’t suffer from ALS although his ALS-like paralysis symptoms threw me in the moment. Stephen Hawking, of course, is a memorable case of the debilitating effects of ALS. Apologies for my confusion!

Alan Haefele (guest): 

  1. Alan Haefele's Linkedin

Philipp Hartmann (host): 

  1. Philipp Hartmann
  2. Philipp Hartmann on LinkedIn

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