Father’s Day is Sunday, June 17th . . . some dads are looking forward to enjoying a breakfast of cold toast and a half-filled glass of orange juice prepared by their pre-schooler, while others will be sharing a lovely brunch, a bike ride, or a round of golf with their adolescent or adult children and families. A different reality often exists for dads of children with autism . . . many will also enjoy quality time with their child and families, while others may be thinking they just need a break! It can be challenging to find activities that you and your child can enjoy together, or to get away for some R and R, so it’s timely that this year the Els for Autism Golf Tournament, and concurrent #GameOn events are happening in Calgary this weekend and on Monday, June 19th.

Els for Autism was established in 2009 by Liezl and Ernie Els. The Els’ son Ben is impacted by the disorder which affects 1 in 68 children. Their adult services help adults successfully transition to all aspects of life by providing skill building programs in employment services, independent living, recreation and leisure. The Canadian-based Els for Autism-Canada is committed to helping people diagnosed on the autism spectrum live healthy, productive lives. The Els for Autism Golf Tournament is an opportunity to raise awareness, support and funds for autism communities across Canada. This year we will celebrate the fourth annual Alberta Golf Challenge tournament hosted in Calgary at the Glencoe Golf & Country Club on June 19th.

As a prelude to the tournament, the Els for Autism Foundation will host an Els #GameOn Autism Golf Training day on Saturday, June 17th from 10am – 3:30pm for teachers, golf instructors, and professionals on the connection between Autism and golf. Young participants are also encouraged to attend and enjoy some #GameOn activities hosted by Autism Aspergers Friendship Society (AAFS). Click here for more information.

This year’s tournament will have many fun events including #GameOn, beat the pro/celebrity events, putting challenges, skill competitions including $50,000 hole-in-one contests, a golf clinic put on by MC Lisa “Longball” Vlooswyk (7 time national long ball champion) and much more. Funds raised will be allocated to AAFS, New Heights School, and the ASD program in the Christ the Redeemer School District.

Whether golf is your thing, or you find yourself facing different options for celebrating Father’s Day, we want to share the wisdom of one dad who is the primary caregiver to a young adult on the spectrum – “Dads are expectation-driven . . . so the most important thing to remember when we encounter autism is to adjust our expectations. After all, we all want the same thing for our kids, to be happy, healthy, productive, loved . . . “ JS

We would like to extend Happy Father’s Day wishes to all of the dads of kids with autism. We hope your expectations are real, and met—whether you take time alone to do your own thing, to rest and rejuvenate, or enjoy being in the moment with your son or daughter. Remember, no matter what it looks like, you are an exceptional dad for your exceptional child with autism.

If you are a mom (or dad) of an individual with autism who would like to talk with someone about transitions or need help navigating to resources, please contact our Resource Centre by email ambassador@theabilityhub.org or phone 403-210-5000 Ext 2037.

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