Dad Can Be Anything, A Story with a Little Imagination and a Lot of Love

‘Everyone Welcome’ is a core value that grounds CrowdPharm, a Spectrum Science company, in a culture of respect, equality and dignity while celebrating how our differences make us stronger. It’s fitting that throughout April, a month focused on raising awareness of autism and fostering inclusion, we showcase our colleague Ray Colon, Senior Vice President, Creative Director.  

As a proud parent of a child on the autism spectrum, Ray is an advocate for spreading awareness, promoting acceptance and igniting change. When his son Mason was diagnosed with autism at 18 months, Ray’s entire world turned upside down. Doctors told him that Mason would not be capable of speaking to him, returning his affection, making human connections and functioning in a neurotypical world.  

“Like most folks, I thought things like this only happened to other people. I knew less than nothing about autism at the time and now it was my reality,” said Ray.

Reading became a big part of their daily routine and gave Ray and Mason an organic way to engage with each other, laugh together and create a world full of imaginative stories. Yet, as a single dad, Ray quickly discovered that while books about moms filled bookstore shelves, books about dads were surprisingly hard to find.   

So, Ray decided to write and illustrate a book that he and Mason could relate to and make their own. Dad Can Be Anything celebrates the universal love between father and child and invites readers to experience the special role dads play through the eyes of a 6-year-old. The book is full of fun interactions told with a playful spirit that inspires heartfelt connections that all dads may be able to immediately connect to.

“We would sit and talk about ideas and draw pictures together. The book’s pages came to life by just observing the daily activities we shared,” says Ray. “Working together, I gained a different perspective on how to give Mason life skills in a less structured and more natural way, using our time creating this book as a springboard for improving his verbal communication, eye contact while collaborating and fine motor skills as we illustrated the story.” 

Mason is now 10 years old. He is in a neurotypical 4th grade class, reading at an 8th grade level and in the top 95th percentile nationally in math. He has tons of friends, is a super nerd and an amazing big brother.

“Mason is my lesson in perseverance,” says Ray. “I hope he can be an inspiration to you or someone with a loved one affected by autism. Limits are often placed on people living with autism, but it is not up to anyone else to decide what they can do or become. Only they can decide that — and with the right support, they too can be anything.”   

Autism Acceptance Month, celebrated globally in April, is dedicated to helping all of us accept and value the full spectrum of neurodiversity. Everyone welcome. 

Dad Can Be Anything can be found on Amazon. Proceeds from the sale of the book go to autism research, promoting awareness and assuring that all affected by autism can achieve the highest quality of life possible.

With Father’s Day around the corner, Ray also created a free downloadable activity card that is available on DadCanBeAnything.com. Just print it, and let your kids do the rest. 

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