Everybody Has A Plan…Until They Get Punched In The Mouth by Big Daddy Autism • All About Autism Series 2011

Everybody Has A Plan…Until They Get Punched In The Mouth by Big Daddy Autism • All About Autism Series 2011

This post is generously submitted for the 2011 All About Autism Series
~ by Big Daddy Autism:

The title of this post is a quote, widely credited to Mike Tyson, which may be the perfect metaphor for life with an autistic child. We have found that making plans is basically a fool’s game.  It is, in a way, like playing black jack at a casino. You can spend years studying the nuances of the game, memorizing strategies, even learning to count cards, but in the end, you can only slightly change the odds of a favorable outcome. You cannot, guarantee it; you give yourself an edge.

However, it is still up to fate to determine what the next card out of the chute will be. While you can put probability on your side, there is still no certainty. So it is with life.  Especially when your life includes raising a child with special needs. You do the best you can. Try to prepare for contingencies, and always do the right thing.  In the end, most of what happens is outside of your control.

For those rabid Dustin Hoffman fans, I realize my use of the card game black jack in the preceding metaphor is slightly ironic given Rain Man’s savant like ability to count cards and win thousands. Even the best card counters only tip the odds in their favor. In real life they cannot always be assured of success. They also dramatically increase the odds of broken kneecaps and concussions at the hands of casino security.

We did all the right things. We had the best prenatal care. My wife took her vitamins. She watched her diet. Didn’t drink, smoke or do drugs. We had a beautiful home and a perfect nursery waiting for him. Despite it all, Griffin was born with this baffling disability.  Adding insult to injury, everyday, we hear stories of drug addicted mothers having healthy babies they don’t even want.

I am not a big Bible or organized religion fan. My mind’s visual image of God is George Burns wearing a 1970s leisure suit while chomping on a cheap cigar. But I once read something in Ecclesiastes that stuck with me. “The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.”  Life is anything but certain. To paraphrase an overused cliché, all we could do was play the cards that we were dealt. That’s what we do every day.

Big Daddy brings his unique view of fatherhood, and the world at large, to life on his frequently updated and hilarious blog, bigdaddyautism.com.  His tales from the lighter side of raising a child with autism always spark laughter and plenty of comments. By telling funny and off-beat stories from his life, Big Daddy shows that raising a kid with special needs is not all doom and gloom. To the contrary, it can be quite humorous and inspirational.

Thanks Big Daddy Autism! How about you?  What’s your perspective?

About the Author:

Gina St. Aubin

Gina St. Aubin is a former Victim’s Advocate who now advocates for those with intellectual and physical challenges. Her eldest son is diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Sensory Processing Disorder, Electrical Status Epilepticus during Sleep / Landau-Kleffner Syndrome (a rare epileptic disorder causing verbal aphasia) and Developmental Delays. In June, 2012, her son also underwent a successful hemispherectomy. Gina is the editor, author and owner of Special Happens, serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the SPD Foundation, and resides in Colorado where she is a mother of 3, wife, blogger, writer and special needs advocate.


  1. Jen April 12, 2011 at 7:20 am - Reply

    Exactly BD. You play the cards. Deciding to have a child doesn’t guarantee you the perfect life, but you comitt to what you are given. Regardless of the outcome, it is your child and love doesn’t even come close to describing how it feels.

  2. Flannery April 12, 2011 at 9:11 am - Reply

    Yep, I totally agree. Though I really am strugggling with the “letting go” part, because I hate when things are out of my control!

  3. Lynn April 12, 2011 at 9:18 am - Reply

    Yeah, my mother likes to remind me every day that even Anna Nicole Smith managed to have NT kids. Thanks Mom. I’ve spent my whole life doing the right things and this is definitely the biggest curveball that I’ve been thrown. I was frozen at the plate for a while, but we’ll be knocking ’em out of the park one day. Baseball analogy y’all!

  4. Grace April 12, 2011 at 10:13 am - Reply

    Great. My plan was to take Ryan to Atlantic City as soon as he turns 21. Thanks for punching that plan in the mouth, BD.

    But then again, I should know better than to make plans at all by now, huh?

    Good post.

  5. Karen V. April 12, 2011 at 10:43 am - Reply

    I’m glad you discussed the issue of doing all the right things during pregnancy and still coming home with an ASD child. It is something I believe a lot of people wonder from their NT worlds – are we all a bunch of moms who used drugs, drank, and did not take care of our bodies during pregnancy? Of course not! We did take all the right precautions to assure a healthy baby. So many things about autism remain unknowns.

    I’m still a firm believer in plans and dreams – we all have much more than a deck of cards and I’m pretty sure each of us has a few tricks up our sleeve to stack the deck. 😉

  6. Laura April 12, 2011 at 9:33 am - Reply

    Amen Big D. You got to know when to hold ’em…

  7. this side of typical April 12, 2011 at 11:40 am - Reply

    hit me! damn! (what we sound like at the blackjack table)

    Pai Gow has better odds… just sayin.

    Now i’ve got to get back to teaching Ben to count cards…

  8. Big Daddy April 12, 2011 at 11:50 am - Reply

    I love the way the title to this post reads in my feed: Everybody Has a Plan … Until You Get Punched in the Mouth by Big Daddy Austism. To clarify, I am not punching anyone in the mouth. I just wrote the post. Hence the “by Big Daddy Autism.”

    So you can rest easy Lynn. I’m not hitting anyone today.

  9. Dani G April 12, 2011 at 1:23 pm - Reply

    funny, I thought the same thing as BDA when I saw it in my feed- wondered if he was punching someone and I wondered where Lynn was and whether I’d need to protect her (with my 98 pound frame).

  10. Jenny April 12, 2011 at 2:38 pm - Reply

    I was struck, not by the pregnancy/pre-child part, but by all the planning we try to do to help our kids and we never know if it will work. This is a great post for helping others understand that! Thanks.

  11. Kathleen Kelly April 12, 2011 at 1:23 pm - Reply

    You always make me laugh, Big Daddy!

    Seriously, though, the one thing that Autism has taught me is that I am NOT in control. It’s an amazingly simple concept, but not one that is easy to accept.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and keeping your fists in your pockets!

  12. Jennie B April 12, 2011 at 11:43 pm - Reply

    It’s nice to see BD’s serious side. Despite all I knew, I still felt somewhat to blame. Now that I have a second kid who is developmentally right on track, I realize that so much of this is out of my hands.

    Still doesn’t sit well with my control freakiness.

  13. Reyna April 13, 2011 at 12:46 am - Reply

    I was reminded of something I read one day while trying to find answers:
    “Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow much tribulation.”
    “For after much tribulation come the blessings.”

  14. Amy April 13, 2011 at 11:04 pm - Reply

    Great post, BD. I love the message behind it…so, so true.

  15. Gina
    Gina April 15, 2011 at 10:57 pm - Reply

    Thank you for this post BD. Personally, it has taken me years to solidly come to this…to accept and work with it. Before, I went back and forth…the cycle of grief and all. Love this. Thank you!

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