Autism Daddy is Out.

Autism DaddyAnyone familiar with Autism has likely heard of Autism Daddy. However, up until today very few people know who was behind this great blog.

Launched in 2011, Autism Daddy quickly rose to the top of reading lists in the autism community from Autism Daddy’s humor, honesty and family perspective.

The boy (commonly referred to as The King) and his Mom (Wifey) and his Dad (Autism Daddy) have added so much joy and knowledge to the community.

Only 4 years in, the blog has amassed over 4 Million views, 120,000 Facebook Followers and who knows how many laughs, smiles and tears around the world.

This week marks a new day however. Autism Daddy outed himself on Monday as a 21-year employee of Sesame Street to help promote Sesame Streets’ new autism initiative

You can read more about the man behind it all here.

And in case you are wondering about the people in his journey. According to Frank’s website:

“Wifey will still be wifey… The king will still be the king or his majesty.  You still probably won’t see their faces. And I’ll still be Autism Daddy or AD even though now you know that I’m Frank who works at Sesame Street.”

Kudos to you Frank. You continue to make the world a better place every day.

Autism. Boys will be Boys.

As any parent will tell you, time flies. My son just turned 10, which means he is now that much closer to being a teenager. When he was 9 years and 364 days old it still seemed far far away. There is something about the number 10 that puts the whole growing concept in perspective.

He’s no longer a kid. Well, he is… but the teenage years are closer now, which means I also need a different perspective.

As an Autism Dad of a son it’s challenging. I know Moms have challenges also but this is only from a Dad’s perspective since I won’t pretend to relate to how a Mom thinks.

Autism is a challenge that I never dreamed of but you learn to do the best you can. Sometimes I fail. Sometimes I fail miserably. And sometimes I exceed all my expectations and learn more than I ever thought possible. Autism is not just a diagnosis but also a teacher. It has taught me patience, understanding of others and so much more.

However, today I need to remember and incorporate a quote almost every parent has heard.

“Boys will be Boys.”

Autism is a 24/7 challenge but all kids (with or without autism) at 10 years old are now starting to grow into their teenage years. Last week there was a “playground incident” and when I found out what happened it was simply two boys frustrating each other. Nothing major happened and I really don’t think Autism played much of a role in the “incident.” When he was 9 I may have been more defensive, but let’s be real.

Kids play together. Kids push each other. Kids tease each other. Kids make up fast.

“Boys will be Boys.”

I have to remember this. We live in a world where people cry disability, religion or race way too often when all the situation really is about is two people having a moment the same way we all did as kids. Thirty seconds later they have forgotten about it; so should we.

In a strange way, these incidents also make me proud that my son continues to interact and learn with typical children. I may not be here forever with him but even if I am, lessons learned from your peers are often just as strong (or stronger) than what parents tell you.

Let’s not forget we were all kids once upon a time.

I Have Autism, I Am Extraordinary


Scrolling through my Twitter feed with a cup of coffee firmly in hand is the usual way I start my mornings (a benefit of working from home). This morning I stopped short at a tweet from @HopeandHaven in answer to somebody else. The other person appears to have a wide spectrum of disorders, including autism, and obviously intended to make a positive sentiment about optimism and strength, but tagged autism under the umbrella term “Mental Illness.” HopeandHaven’s reply was simple and beautiful:

I agree with your sentiment but I don’t agree that autism is a mental illness. I am not ill. I am extraordinary.

“I am not ill. I am extraordinary.” Truly brave words. Have you looked at your autistic child and thought how extraordinary they are? Or have you been so focused and bogged down by the daily issues of raising a special needs child that you’ve never taken that step back to truly see them as they are?

Special needs or not, we are all extraordinary in our own way. We each have strengths and skills and good things to offer the world. It takes courage to not just recognize it in yourself but to declare it proudly and loudly to all that will listen. Because this world can be tough, and individuality and uniqueness are not always valued the way that they should be. But they should be, and you can help.

How? As with most things, by starting locally. As in, locally in your own household. By raising a child whose individuality is celebrated and not criticized. By recognizing your child’s successes and not giving too much weight to their failures. By using teachable moments and emphasizing learning experiences, but not overusing or overemphasizing them. Because everybody makes mistakes, and not just people with autism.

Autism is not an illness or a disease; your child is not a punishment or a curse. They are not ill; they are extraordinary.

Can you see that? Have you ever stood in wonder as your whiz kid performed complex equations in their head? Do you ever take for granted that your ultra-shy child can sit down at the piano and play any tune by heart? Does it matter that he can’t tie his shoes or that she only wants to wear the color blue? Are you so happy with the rules that life has made you follow that you want your own child restricted too?

Sure, society has guidelines and it’s our job as parents to prepare our children to live within them. To a point. It’s also our job as parents to teach our children to find happiness, isn’t it? So perhaps it’s time to leave our own ideas and expectations at the door and understand that their happiness will not come on our terms. Instead, their happiness is deeply rooted in the things they love to do and their ability to do them. Help clear their road of obstacles to reaching that happiness.

Make sure they know that they are not ill—they are extraordinary. And they can accomplish anything.

Autism. It Makes You Stronger.

Father Son

Five years ago I never heard the word autism. Well, maybe I did, but it wasn’t part of my life.

In my world, autism was in the category of things other people had to deal with. I had my own challenges and anything which wasn’t a priority for me well, I just didn’t hear.

Then my son was diagnosed.

The world stopped.

Truth be told I lost something that day. I lost my spirit, my drive, my thirst for life.

The days became long. The nights even longer.

I became angry. My marriage suffered. My health suffered. My business suffered.

Many friendships were lost because I couldn’t talk.

Then something happened.

I was looking through some old papers one day and found this quote.

“A man becomes a father when he sees his child.”

I realized that moment I never saw my son, I saw his problems. From that moment forward my entire perspective of live changed. Not only is my son my best friend but he has taught me so much no one else ever could. This translates into life and choices I have made, especially over the last few years. This new perspective of opening my eyes more and realizing who is around, those who are truly around, helped me find a way to enjoy the best of life.

Life is too short. Embrace those you love and do what you want to do, on your own terms.

We all have challenges. The key is to open your eyes and see the magic.

Thomas the Train and Autism.

Thomas the Train

George Carlin. That’s what comes to mind when I think of Thomas the Train.

The man who first listed the “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television” in a 1972 monologue.

Oh my, how far we have come.

Between George, Alec Baldwin and Ringo Starr, Thomas the Tank Engine is quite a celebrity for his voice overs but to a 9-year-old Thomas is so much more.

Being married to Kim Basinger – Doesn’t matter.

A Beatles Member – Beatle who?

$580 Million sale to Mattel – Who cares.

Thomas is just magic. Pure and Simple.

When my son first started watching Thomas I thought it was like any other children’s show. One which would run its course and disappear a few months later. Oh, how I was wrong.

The little engine is part of my life more than I could ever imagined. A Day out with Thomas has nothing on what we do all year long.

Thomas is the king and you know what – he deserves to be king. In an age where video games often involve destroying something (or someone) and YouTube videos quickly spew many of those seven words George Carlin spoke about, Thomas is a pleasure.

So are Birdy, James, Harold, Sir Top Em Hat and the rest of Sodor Island.

Why this fascination I will never know.

But it could be worse. Much much worse.

My only complaint.

At some point I have to explain the Island of Sodor is not real. Maybe I’ll do the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus and Thomas all on the same day.

or maybe I’ll leave that for Mommy.


Photo credit to Ron Ellis /

Ausome™ Teachers Make a Difference.

High Five


The most underpaid professionals on earth.

With all respect to other professions, a good teacher is worth 10x any salary approved by the school board. Why, because let’s be real.

  • Teachers teach your child how to write.
  • Teachers teach your child how to read.
  • Teachers teach your child how to socialize.
  • Teachers teach your child when to ask to go the bathroom.
  • Teachers teach your child how to draw.
  • Teachers teach your child how to practically do everything from Kindergarten onwards.

Yes, I know some parents are rolling their eyes and saying no way but again, let’s be real. Teachers have your children typically 30+ hours a week. By the time your child comes home its an hour of fun, some food time, a nap and a bath.

Of course, there are many things teachers can’t do but think about it? Who really has that many responsibilities for your child other than you?

Teachers do. That’s who.

The problem is there are not enough great teachers.

Lots of good ones, and sadly lots of bad ones, but when you find an Ausome™ teacher its like winning the lottery. They are amazing, they change worlds, they create dreams, they inspire and they provide hope.

As a parent you must do everything you can to find awesome teachers.

When we found the perfect teacher — found is a strong word, we got lucky — everything became easier and our son became happier.

For those awesome teachers out there I just wanted to say thank you.

The world needs you more than you can ever imagine.

Am I Going Crazy.

Child screaming

Crazy. This word has a whole new meaning when you are a special needs parent.

First of all, crazy is a bad word. Crazy is not crazy, crazy just means you are normal.

Adjusting to autismhood is so very different than typical parenthood.

  • No one grows up dreaming to be a special needs parent.
  • No one grows up dreaming to be a caretaker for their children.
  • No one grows up dreaming about children who are non-verbal.

So what happens when the dream of a typical child is crushed overnight?

It can feel like all kinds of crazy is happening but trust me, you are not crazy. You are just adjusting to a different reality, and it takes time to adjust.

  • Some of it is shock.
  • Some of it is heartbreak.
  • Some of it is fear.
  • Some of it is love.

List every emotion you know. Those are the emotions you will feel all at once upon diagnosis. This is not a bad thing – it is just a hard thing.

For everyone it is different. Some can’t handle it while others excel.

I have seen the best parents become bad people with typical children, and the worst people become amazing parents with special needs children.

At the end of the day you are still a parent. A parent with a little more responsibility now.

Our ability to change and embrace challenge is what makes humanity so incredibly special.

You are not crazy.

You are simply a parent.