Ken Siri and his son, Alex, are the subject of an upcoming documentary called “Big Daddy Autism” which focuses on their relationship and day-to-day challenges.
Alex is now a 16 year old teenager who was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder when he was 3. His parents witnessed his speech decline dramatically from that point. He went from articulating simple sentences to being able to speak just one or two words, and now his verbal communication is somewhat nonexistent.
In the past, Ken had worked on Wall Street for 15 years as a healthcare analyst helping unknown companies become recognized in the investment community. However, soon after Alex’s diagnoses he realized that his job’s demands did not allow him the time and flexibility he needed to give his son. Like many single parents, Ken is under constant pressure to provide for his son both emotionally and financially. A 2009 study claimed that stress of a mother with an ASD child is comparable to a combat solider. Although the comparison is a bit of a stretch, Ken hopes to portray his stress levels honestly through the film.
Although the movie is still in its production process, it will shed light on a part of the autism community that hasn’t received that much attention. The general public understands autism as simply peculiar or nerdy but about 25% of autistic individuals are nonverbal. The father son duo shows how they are able to overcome these obstacles. For example, Alex now uses an iPad app called Proloquo2Go that has images and phrases to express things like “I want an apple.”
Mr. Siri is now a well known author, advocate, and entrepreneur residing in New York City. In 2010 he wrote, along with Tony Lyons, Cutting-Edge Therapies for Autism, which focuses on current and future treatments, and therapies for autism. As a working, single father himself, Siri’s goal was to accumulate research and information for other parents to use as a resource.
Ken is aware of how much hard work parents go through especially when they are single and working. Through this documentary he hopes to bring together other parents within the autism community.
Written by Raiza Belarmino