In many ways I am like most American dads. I enjoy sports (playing and watching), being outdoors, grilling, barbequing (yes, there is a difference), a good beer on a warm day, you know guy stuff. I grew up going to school, playing sports, and trying not to get caught when I got into trouble (breaking curfew, ditching school, minor stuff). I went to college at a public university, graduated, and entered the workforce. My wife and I got married and decided to start a family. Part of me always wanted to be a dad and when I became one it was the start of the most amazing part of my life. My kids are my biggest source of joy and pride. In those ways I am similar to most dads out there.
In some ways I start to stand out a bit as an individual. That public university I attended was a part of the University of California system. I graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Electrical Engineering, with a focus on Computer Engineering (or digital design). I entered the workforce within the high tech industry, software engineering to be more precise. In addition to the typical guy hobbies I enjoy tinkering with electronics and writing my own software. Still not too different from most dads, but a bit more of an individual.
In other ways I am quite unique. I have a smart, funny, social, amazing child who happens to have a disability. That disability happens to be physical in nature and significant enough to impact every aspect of my child’s life. That job in the high tech industry, I left it to become a Stay-At-Home dad and focus completely on helping my child reach their maximum potential. Those electrical engineering, software, and tinkering skills have been redirected and focused on adapting the world for my child. That’s the AT (Assistive Technology) in “AT Dad”, and that is some of what makes me a bit unique.
As a note, you may notice a bit of ambiguity in how I describe myself and my family. While I would enjoy meeting many of you who chose to read this Blog, this is the Internet. This is being made available to the world in a very public manner. As a father of a child who happens to have a disability I need to take extra precautions to protect our family’s privacy. For the most part, knowing me personally, or my family, is irrelevant when it comes to discussing AT solutions. While it is good to know I have an electrical engineering and software background when judging how difficult I rate an electronics project, my full name or the specifics of my child’s disability have little bearing on how to switch adapt a toy, for example. I appreciate your understanding and respect for my family’s privacy and in return I will share my journey through the world of AT.
There will be readers of this blog that do get to know me and my family in real life. To those people I ask that if you do comment on my posts that you refer to our family members as AT Dad, AT Mom (or my wife), and J. This will help the readers that do not know our family follow your comments and help to maintain some semblance (or illusion) of privacy. Thank you!