This month's Community Connections is all about celebrating dads, sharing their experiences and offering a better understanding of the impact on fathers of raising a child with autism. We hope you find this Community Connections page inspiring and that these resources help connect you with the true meaning of this celebration. Happy Father's Day from Autism Speaks!
"My child experiences life differently than me and I am okay with that. I am in his life, he knows me, he loves me and I feel like the BEST father when he comes up to give me a hug or just a simple smile when I get home."
- Ryan, Dad of Jackson, age 7
The Impact on Fathers of Raising A Child With Autism
In contrast to the large body of research on mothers, there has been little research on fathers of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). For this month's Community Connection, Family Services interviewed Dr. Sigan Hartley and Dr. Marsha Seltzer of the University of Wisconsin-Madison about the impact on fathers of raising a child with autism, how this impact differs from that of mothers, and much more!
Click here to read the interview.
Lessons I've Learned from My Son with Autism
In this article, Dr. Robert Naseef, a psychologist and author, tells the story of his family and his life as the father of Tariq, a young man with autism.
"What [Tariq] has taught me besides accepting him is accepting myself and my own imperfections. Our children's challenges often radiate inwardly our sense of being imperfect. He taught me that. Like a little professor, a little Buddha, he taught me without a single word."
Click here to read the article.
Resource of the Month
Not My Boy! A Father, a Son and One Family's Journey with Autism
by Rodney Peete
Rodney Peete is an NFL veteran quarterback, the husband of Autism Speaks board member and actress Holly Robinson Peete, and the father of a son with autism. In Not My Boy!, Rodney Peete offers not only a heartrending, candid look inside his personal journey with his son's autism but a first-of-its-kind, inspirational road map that will help families facing similar challenges to move forward.
Rodney Peete joined us for a live chat where he answered questions from our community and talked about life as a dad of a child with autism. Check out the transcript here!
Breaking Autism's Barriers: A Father's Story
by Bill Davis
Dads and Autism: How to Stay in the Game
by Emerson B. Donnell III
The Horse Boy: A Father's Quest to Heal His Son
by Rupert Isaacson
The Only Boy in the World: A Father Explores the Mysteries of Autism
by Michael Blastland
Saving Ben: A Father's Story of Autism
by Dan E. Burns
Topic of the Week: Fathers
The Topic of the Week on the Autism Speaks blog this week asked fathers to share positive messages and words of wisdom with other dads of children with autism. There were many thoughtful, encouraging and inspiring responses throughout the week.
Here are some great words of wisdom from Stuart:
The Steps to Earning that #1 Dad Coffee Mug That You Get Each Year
1. Be there. Every day, sporting events, plays, assemblies, times they need you.
2. Don't make your wife be a warrior mom alone. Help her, support her, show her you can be a warrior too.
3. Deal with and conquer what ever guilt or denial you may have. The sooner you can truly accept the situation and take power over it, the better.
4. Transfer that macho pride you have for yourself into unconditional pride you have in your children. Hug them, kiss them, wear goofy birthday hats; no matter who's looking.
5. Never give up. No one is born a perfect parent and no one is ever ready to hear their child has special needs. Just don't give up, you'll make it.
Read more messages from dads here!
Autism Response Posts
Autism Speaks very own Marianne Sullivan answers frequently asked questions from the Autism Speaks community. Click here to read this month's Autism Response Posts.