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AJ Drexel Autism Institute: Fathers Autism Support Group

Hosted by The AJ Drexel Autism Institute

This support group for fathers of autistic people is sponsored by the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute and co-facilitated by Dr. Robert Naseef and Dr. Michael Hannon. The support group was created in response to the need for more resources for fathers of autistic people and to provide a safe space to discuss issues and concerns related to gender, parenting, family dynamics, acceptance, self-care, and coping.

Initially, the group began as an in-person initiative in the fall of 2019. The group now continues virtually every month between September and June. The fathers are encouraged to provide peer-to-peer support, share experiences and celebratory milestones, and collectively confront challenges as parents of autistic people.

Since the start of the group, fathers have found comfort in connecting with other fathers who are also navigating similar experiences. The men report experiencing feeling seen, heard, and validated in ways they have not for the entirety of their autism journeys, which is especially helpful given the racial/ethnic, linguistic, spiritual, geographic and neurodiversity of the fathers.

The group attendance averages between 15 and 20 fathers and father figures of autistic people each month.

The A.J. Drexel Autism Institute is dedicated to discovering, developing, promoting, and disseminating population-level and community-based approaches that will prevent autism-associated morbidity and disability and improve the quality of life for individuals with autism of all ages.