(Still working on this obviously, but here's the start.)
Fathering Autism is a vlog created by Asa Maass about his autistic, intellectually disabled daughter Abbie. The vlog has spun off a number of related vlogs and businesses from family and caregivers. For years the vlogs have been posted on an almost daily basis, filming the day-to-day activities of the Maass family, purportedly to "spread awareness" about autism.
Asa is the 41 year old father of Abbie Maass. He films, edits, and posts content for the FatheringAutism Youtube channel, as well as content on Facebook and (to a lesser degree) Instagram and TikTok.
Asa's 41 year old wife and Abbie's mother. Priscilla also has her own channel (Cilla's Stuff 'n' Things) and an active presence on social media such as Instagram and TikTok.
The 21 year old son of Asa and Priscilla and a regular on FatheringAutism until leaving to attend college.
Asa and Priscilla's 17 year old daughter and arguably the main star of the channel. Nonverbal, autistic, intellectually disabled.
A young woman the Maasses met through Surfers for Autism, who lived with the Maasses for several years. Described as "best friends" with Abbie.
Criticism and Controversies
The Maasses are often accused of exploiting Abbie's disabilities for their own financial gain. Currently there are at least three adults who are supported by filming Abbie Maass, a non-verbal intellectually disabled minor who many believe does not have the ability to consent to be filmed (Asa, Priscilla, and Isaiah).
Asa has also been known to share information and footage which some viewers consider to be a complete violation of Abbie's privacy and dignity. Examples include discussing how she goes to the bathroom, how they deal with bathroom incontinence (i.e. the use of "pull ups" or diapers), detailing embarrassing issues she has such as fecal smearing, episodes of inappropriate stripping and nudity, and so forth. Because many people consider these all to be topics any neurotypical teenager would be extremely mortified by if they were made public, critics of Fathering Autism believe Asa exploits Abbie's inability to understand the concept of the vlog or articulate a desire not to be a part of it in order to gain views and make money.
ABA and controversial approaches
Priscilla's Weight Loss Surgery
In 2019 Priscilla underwent weight loss surgery, paid for in cash with the earnings from the channel. After losing a moderate amount of weight the first year Priscilla's success stalled and perhaps even reversed. Some viewers consider this to have been extremely wasteful given that part of the money they earn from the channel is supposedly meant to provide future financial security for Abbie. Outside of the initial post-op period, the show has documented that for years since she has made almost no effort to eat healthy or exercise.
In 2019 the Maasses bought what is presumed to be their first house, for which they paid $x. Up until that point they had been renters in a more modest home. This was a turning point for many viewers, as it seemed to separate their previous existence as a relatable family working to stay positive despite being in a challenging situation to a family intent on living a much more extravagant and materialistic lifestyle.
Visits from CPS
Child Protective Services (CPS) have been called on the Maasses at least twice according to the vlogs.
ID vs. autism
Priscilla's LimeLife Selling Business
Priscilla uses the exposure she receives from the FA channel to reach potential customers and downline for her job as a "beauty guide" for LimeLife, a multi-level marketing company wihch sells cosmetics and skincare products.
The Maasses increased their spending as the success of the channel took off, to the point where they are often seen as often blowing through the money they've earned through filming their daughter to just travel, enjoy themselves, and live a life of relative luxury. Some of the most egregious examples include the purchase of a new truck and RV trailer in 2021 (estimated to have cost $x), the purchase of a new truck for Isaiah in 2021 (estimated to have cost $x), multiple new cars for Priscilla and Asa, a multitude of trips and vacations, and repeated remodelings of their home (including a sitting room they've remodeled at least twice and a completely revamped kitchen.) Little money ever seems to be spent to actually benefit Abbie.
Asa's Extramarital Affair and First Daughter
In 2020 it was revealed that Asa had a child through an extramarital affair he had in 2003 with whom he has apparently had no contact and often neglected in terms of financial support. The Maasses released a teary-eyed video on the FA channel about the topic, in which they claimed that the child had been conceived during a time where Asa had decided he "didn't want to be married anymore", when their son Isaiah would have been a toddler. Asa claims he was unaware the affair had resulted in Pregnancy
until years after the girl was born and that the girl's mother had not wanted him to have contact with her. Records seem to suggest he had the right to visitation, but has seemingly never taken advantage of it. Records also seem to show that he has a history of underpaying child support, paying it late, or sometimes going long periods of not paying it at all.
The Maasses are believed to hide their income in order to minimize their obligations of child support. Many/most business endeavors they enter are made to look like they belong to Priscilla. Eventually the mother of Asa's first daughter was able to have the child support payments increased to reflect the dramatic increase in Asa's income from FatheringAutism. Outside of the one video (since deleted), the Maasses have never spoken of Asa's other daughter and she seems to have no part in his life.
In 2021 the Maasses opened a SelfieWRLD franchise in Jacksonville.
As of November 2022, Selfie WRLD Jax is permanently closed.
Second house (Isaiah's residence)
In 2021 they purchased a second home, purportedly as some kind of investment and to provide a place to live for Isaiah.
Interactions with viewers
The Maasses have a tendency to ignore almost all of the many positive comments they receive, but they often zone in on any comment which has the appearance of being anything close to criticial, and they will often react very defensively.
Lack of progress with Abbie and possible regressions
Cilla's Stuff 'n' Things