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Thank you, Dads, for all that you do

This Father's Day, Autism Speaks celebrates all of the dads, grandpas and other father figures in our community. Thank you to all of the autism dads who work diligently and selflessly to make the world a more understanding and accepting place for children and adults with autism.

For World Autism Month this year, nearly 5,000 people in the autism community around the world shared their autism stories with Autism Speaks. Many stories came from dads looking to share with the world the pride and love they feel for their children. 

To celebrate dads this Father’s Day, we want to share some of the words of encouragement and inspiration from these incredible dads.

My son's name is Adrian: 6 years old. He was diagnosed with Autism when he was 2. I felt lost after his diagnosis, but Adrian was the one that lead me the way. We started with Early Intervention, and then began in-home ABA therapy. He currently is now in Kindergarten and is academically doing great, but has sensory issues which cause him to cover his ears and wanting to leave any blustering location. He needs assistance with many tasks, but Adrian is learning and teaching me at the same time.

My experience as a stepdad to Ayden is AMAZING I never experience raising a child on the spectrum . It has been one of the best experiences ever. I love every moment from when he wakes up and smiles to his stories about Godzilla and Pokémon till he goes to sleep. I thank God for putting him my life he changed my life for the better.

My 9 year old daughter has autism and Down syndrome so this is very near and dear to my heart. Because of my daughter, I (along with my brother Paul) opened Team GUTS which is a year round fitness and sports facility, over 11,000 square feet, located in Ferndale Michigan. It's a place where those with autism can feel at home and experience everything that their peers experience. We offer fitness classes, one on one strength training and sports to children, teenagers and adults.

My son, and my hero. He has learned that “Autism Speaks” means he has a voice to advocate for himself. He challenges - and wins - when others see only limitations and he sees the endless possibilities that await. I only wish - when I was his age - I’d have displayed half the courage, confidence, and indomitable spirit he has shown me. I watched Jordan win 6 NBA titles, the Hawks, Bears, Sox and even the Cubs win titles. Still, my one and only “hero” is right here - my son. #AutismStrong

I am a proud father of a son named Cade. Cade has autism. Cade has love. Cade has soul. And to those that think I should place Cade in a home, Cade has a home. I write about life in our home on a blog called Squeeze the Spaceman's Taco. Why the odd title? It's just one of Cade's unique phrases we call Cadeisms.

Today is World Autism Awareness Day. So in honor of this special day, in addition to wearing blue for my little hero, let me tell you about how this almost 7 year old boy has changed my life forever. It’s been almost a year since Beckett was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, and in that year I have grown so far as a father, and as a person, that I didn’t think was possible. 

This is my son Jonah. He is 6 years old and was diagnosed with Autism in February of 2016. He has an amazing laugh and is 100% boy. He loves physical play like the trampoline and climbing. He challenges me every day to be a better father. I’ve been amazed at the progress he’s made over the last few years with the help of ABA therapy, school and of course his amazing Mom. Jonah is going to do amazing things in this world and I’m glad to be on the journey.

The Autism Speaks blog features opinions from people throughout the autism community. Each blog represents the point of view of the author and does not necessarily reflect Autism Speaks' beliefs or point of view.