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Pain to Purpose: A father's story of raising 3 boys with autism

Rob Gorski created an online community while documenting his life as a parent of children with autism.
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Posted at 6:48 PM, Jun 15, 2024

Rob Gorski has three sons with autism.

Gorski and his wife navigated the rare complexity for 17 years together, but eventually divorced. That's when Gorski took on the responsibility of raising their three sons.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that one in 36 children will be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, also known as ASD. It's four times more likely to appear in boys than girls.

As it became more difficult to juggle all of his kids' diagnoses, Gorski began looking for an outlet.

"Back in 2008 or 2009, I started a blog called 'Lost and Tired.' And I thought it was private. I had no idea how the internet worked. And I was sharing all those thoughts that I had that I did not think anybody else should ever have access to. What I learned was that it wasn't private and that parents started finding it because, at that time, you couldn't find anything about autism."

Soon after, Gorski created "The Austim Dad," an online resource for parents of children who have autism.

"I learned that it was very beneficial for parents. They felt connected and validated," he said.

After thousands of blog posts, Gorski started "The Autism Dad" podcast.

"My kids are part of it because they come on and they talk about their journeys," he said.

Through this whole process, Gorski said he's found his freedom, something he didn't realize he locked away for a long time.

"I am now, just now, to a place where I'm able to start making the arrangements and plans for my life and my future that I should've been doing in my 20s," Gorski said.

The journey also allowed Gorski to realize that the best way for him to cope with having children with autism is to cater to the child, not to the diagnosis.

"I was trying to protect them and level the playing field. But I think that I overcompensated a little bit. It was just lack of resources, lack of understanding," he said.

Gorski's children are thriving. One of them has moved out on his own, another has started college classes and the youngest wants to work in photography. He hopes his story can inspire others who have children with autism.

"I want to see everyone succeed and grow forward as a person and reach more people and be able to help people," he said.

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