Brendan Fraser Gets Emotional Talking About His Son With Autism

Brendan Fraser shared his experiences with his son, 20-year-old Griffin during his first appearance on The Howard Stern Show Tuesday. The actor's oldest son is autistic, and Fraser spoke passionately about what means to be a parent of a child with special needs. Fraser and his ex-wife, Afton Smith, are also parents to sons Leland, 16, and Holden, 18.

Fraser, 54, told Howard Stern that he goes out of his way to meet fans with autism during public events. "You know that there's somebody who needs a little more love, a little more time because they're autistic or they have Aspergers, and this is their world. This is where they belong," The Whale actor explained, reports PEOPLE. "No matter all of the noise surrounding the hysteria that goes into the whole celebrity bulls—, I always, always stop the train to have a moment with them."

The actor said that, as the father of a child with autism, he knows how "meaningful it is to their families and to them," to see someone reach out. "It means a lot to feel like you can gratify someone just by showing up, it means a lot," he said. Fraser also detailed the challenges parents of children with autism may face.

"You will have to fight with school boards. Yes, there will be weird people that you meet along the way that have a completely different agenda compared to what the purpose of sending a kid to a special needs school is," Fraser told Stern. Parents will also "encounter a lot of really colorful people" and how that situation ends depends on understanding that "everything's going to be ok," Fraser said. "You must believe that in spite of it."

Griffith was diagnosed when he was 22 or 24 months old, Fraser said. He was "crestfallen" by the diagnosis at first and said he wanted to know how to "fix this" or if there was a cure. Parents might blame themselves in search of an answer, but Fraser compared this to "like trying to get a straight answer out of a f— leprechaun." It is difficult to accept that even doctors do not have the answers.

"Then you learn quickly that, I wouldn't have any other way," Fraser told Stern. "This kid has the most joy onboard of anyone I know, and he happens to be related to me as my son. I want to know what he thinks is so gut-bustingly funny all day long, in a genuine way, he's cracking himself up. He loves to go for a ride in the car. It doesn't matter where you're taking him."

Fraser was nominated for the Best Actor Oscar for his performance in The Whale. He plays Charlie, an obese English professor hoping to reconnect with his daughter, played by Sadie Sink. In an interview with Freddie Prinze Jr. for Interview Magazine, Fraser said his experience with Griffin helped him understand his character.

"My oldest son Griffin has special needs. He's autistic. He just turned 20. He's a big kid. He's six foot five," Fraser explained. "He's got big hands and feet, a big body. I understand intimately what it is to be close to a person who lives with obesity. And because of the beauty of his spectrum-call it a disorder if you will, I disagree with you-he knows nothing of irony."

"He doesn't know what cynicism is," Fraser continued. "You can't insult him. He can't insult you. He's the happiest person and is, in my life and many others', also the manifestation of love. Being with my kids and their mom and our family has given me such love that if ever I needed to hold something of value up to try and translate that to what was important to Charlie, I didn't have to look far."