Life as a working father with an autistic son

Sayo Babatunde is a digital marketing and business consultant from London with a five-year-old son who is autistic and has Down syndrome.

working father autistic disabled son


In the digital age, where Zoom meetings have become a staple in the world of business, there are unexpected challenges many professionals face. I, Sayo Babatunde, managing director of Ken Blu, am no exception. My story isn’t just about a man spearheading a thriving digital marketing consultancy; it’s about me as a father passionate about my craft, while equally committed to my extraordinary son, Nikaio.

For those unfamiliar with the nuances of autism, my son, who is on the more extreme end of the spectrum, often finds it challenging to understand typical social dynamics. Picture this: I’m deep in discussions about digital strategies and client needs, and suddenly, young Kaio decides to pop his head in, purely out of inquisitiveness or just wanting to share a moment with dad, often its not as sweet, sometimes he just needs his climbing frame, me.

These unexpected cameos during high-stakes meetings could be a source of panic for some. But I’ve learned to navigate these moments with grace, warmth, and occasionally, a dash of humour. Early on, I realized that being upfront was the best approach. “Just a heads up, I have a son with autism who might decide to join our call briefly,” I’d tell clients. This honest disclaimer not only sets the stage but also showcases a slice of my world outside the realm of business.

The modern business landscape can be demanding, but I’ve been heartened to discover that many clients, some of whom are parents themselves, understand and even embrace these little interruptions. Their empathy reminds me that while work is crucial, it’s the human connections that make all the difference.

However, I won’t downplay the challenges. Juggling the unpredictability of Nikaio’s interruptions and the needs of my clients can be a tightrope walk. Each day presents its unique hurdles, but with every potential hiccup, I also have countless successful interactions. And while there’s the occasional client who might not grasp the full extent of my situation, many more appreciate and respect the dual dedication I display — to my profession and my family.

I often remind myself why I embarked on this journey. Ken Blu was relaunched with a distinct purpose — to ensure a flexible yet prosperous professional life, all while catering to Nikaio’s needs. This ‘why’ drives me, motivates me during challenging times, and infuses purpose into every project I undertake.

Sharing my story isn’t about seeking validation or sympathy; it’s about resonating with others who might be on a similar journey. To all working dads juggling professional demands with unique parenting challenges: know that there’s hope, there are moments of unexpected joy, and while the road might be a tad rocky, it’s also replete with invaluable lessons and memorable milestones.

Read more:

Kevin Maguire: paternal mental health matters

Disability and fatherhood: challenging stereotypes

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