Skip to main content

OARacle Newsletter

“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.” – Richard Peake, a father featured in the film

June is the month we celebrate fathers and their contributions to their families. An Australian documentary, “DAD,” does just that by featuring the stories of 12 Australian fathers with autistic children. They describe personal challenges, triumphs, and overall experiences in supporting their autistic child.

Produced by Autism Awareness, the film provides insight into the collision between typical parenting styles and autism. In explaining why the organization made the documentary, Autism Awareness Australia chief executive Nicole Rogerson said, “When a child is diagnosed with autism, the few support systems available are often tailored towards mothers – but where does that leave Dad?”



The film asks the dads a variety of questions, including:

  • How did you feel when you heard the diagnosis?
  • What did you do next?
  • How did you and your wife navigate this?
  • How did you cope?
  • What role did your mates play?
  • What impact has autism had on you and your family?
  • What about the bad days… the worst day?
  • And the good days?
  • What advice do you have for a new autism dad?

The film also highlights what autistic research has supported: that moms and dads of autistic children act and tend to bring different methods of support to their child. Mothers and fathers engage and interact in unique ways that not only influence their autistic child’s skills and habits but also influence their own personal development with their child. This month’s newsletter highlights an OAR-funded study that describes those differences and a program they are piloting specifically for fathers.