Jim Valvano once said, “My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person: He believed in me.” And that’s where my story begins with this letter to you today.
When I was 4 I was diagnosed with autism. Through all the uncertainties the diagnosis would bring my family, the one thing my dad always remembered to do was believe in my abilities. The unconditional love he provided me has made a lasting impact in my life.
When my dad recently retired, I was asked to say a few words. I said he had become my hero for the supports and services he provided me when schools wouldn’t. When we had to fight for an out-of-district placement, he led that charge as well. My dad cared, and through that care he also became one of my best friends.
“For all the dads who raise a loved one on the spectrum, thank you. Thank you for going above and beyond for your children.”
Now I work to share the lessons my dad taught me with other dads in our community. When I speak to parent groups, a common message we discuss is how any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad.
So for all the dads who raise a loved one on the spectrum, thank you. Thank you for going above and beyond for your children.
This Father’s Day please know we appreciate all that you do. Your impact will move mountains for your child. We can’t thank you enough for that.
And to my dad, I love you with all my heart and always will. Thank you for bringing me in this world and giving me the opportunities to shine. I hope to follow by example when I’m a dad one day.
Kerry Magro is an international motivational speaker on the autism spectrum. A version of this blog originally appeared on Kerrymagro.com here.