Australian Dads from all walks of life have opened up about their experiences parenting children on the autism spectrum – in a new film about autism and fatherhood.
The 36 minute short film, produced by leading autism organisation Autism Awareness Australia, follows the stories of twelve Aussie fathers with children on the autism spectrum as they discover a new world of parenting and what it means to be a Dad.
Autism Awareness Australia chief executive Nicole Rogerson said the film was created to provide guidance, information, and support to fathers with children on the autism spectrum.
“When children are diagnosed with autism, the support structures in place are often tailored towards mothers – but where does that leave the Dads?” she said.
“Sharing stories and experiences is how we learn and support one another – but there are few resources out there to support Dads of children on the autism spectrum, who we know often have very different experiences to Mums.
“That’s why we brought together a group of Dads of all different ages and vastly different backgrounds to tell their stories—stories of success, of struggle and of family.
“Each one of them is so different, but with one thing in common – a child on the autism spectrum,” Ms Rogerson said.
Dads featured in the film include neurosurgeon Professor Brian Owler, ex-Australian Rugby representative, Titans NRL captain Mat Rogers (shown below) and broadcaster Ian Rogerson.
Richard Peake, who is also in the film and whose youngest son Liam was diagnosed with autism early on, said he was hopeful that initiatives like ‘DAD’ documentary will create a broader more positive dialogue in society around autism.
“Being a dad to an autistic child doesn’t’ come with instructions. It can often be a lonely place. Not many, if any, of your mates or male family members can relate. There is no one to bounce ideas off. I hope the film shows Dads like me that it doesn’t have to be quite so lonely, and actually talking about “it” can only help you and your child.” says Richard.
‘DAD’ is available online at www.dadfilm.com.au
Autism Awareness Australia is Australia’s leading voice for autism with one simple goal: to improve the lives of all Australians on the spectrum and the families who love them.