Did you know Dancing With The Stars Tony Dovolani has an autistic son? The Huffington Post has a wonderful piece about it and his family and how they have adjusted…and what they have been blessed to learn to. Below is a take, but, be sure to hit the link for much more including some fun pictures of Tony and his family. Thanks to Donamadrina for the heads up!
Dovolani also discusses the importance of the state assistance they are receiving. “We live in the great state of Connecticut where they have a program, where they send people to your home that help you with speech therapy, motor skills and everything else. It is part of the reason I live in Connecticut.”
Adrian goes to elementary school as well and takes advantage of about everything that school offers. Tony adds, that he does physical therapy, “but no medicine, it’s a personal choice. Our focus is just on him developing.”
Interestingly, one of the methods the family uses with Adrian is to not stick to routines in order to free him from his obsessive need for routine.
Dovolani can’t emphasize enough that they don’t treat Adrian differently than their two daughters: We try to put him on the same schedule as them; we all eat together, we all hang out together, we play together. He does not get excluded from anything and I think that is the most important thing for any child with special needs; is not to exclude them.
And of course, all three of the children dance. “We’re always active, we’re always dancing, we’re always doing something that has to do with activity — whether it be a trampoline or swing sets or running or playing tag or rollerblading, ice skating, skiing, bike riding. You name it, we do it,” says Dovolani.
I brought up the fact that sometimes in families who have children with special needs; there is a dynamic where the siblings feel they are not getting as much attention as the child with special needs. Tony is clear that they all get equal attention, “It depends on who needs the attention. As a parent you try to divide and make sure you give every single child attention, but we have been blessed with some really great daughters that are very sensitive to my son and they are helpful in every aspect, especially his twin sister. I call my wife my queen because she takes care of everything in such a wonderful way.”