28. July 2015 · Comments Off on 7 tips on how to plan the perfect beach trip for families with special needs! · Categories: advocacy, parent education, published elsewhere, sites to visit

No money exchanged hands for this guest post for Dads of Disability.

Make your family beach trips fun and relaxing this summer by using these beach hacks for a fun day out with your child with special needs!

1. Call ahead to reserve a beach wheelchair.

Beach wheelchairs are a fun way for your child who uses a mobility-aid to walk along the shore. Most of the time, beaches will be stocked with only one or two beach wheelchairs, so make sure to reserve yours ahead of time!


Via accessible San Diego

2. Accessible entry points.

Do your research beforehand to make sure you’re headed to the accessible entry way to the beach. Most beaches will have parking spots designated for families with special needs right next to one of the ramp entrances to get to the sand. The closer you are to the ramp, the less stress!

3. Mobi-Mats.

Some beaches on the coasts have hard-surfaced mats for wheelchair users to cruise smoothly on the sand. The mats make for a great way for you and your child to explore more of the beach without feeling limited to the space around you.

4. Big beach umbrellas to save your skin.

Renting a big umbrella from beaches is a well worth investment. You won’t have to worry about melting in the sun all day. It’s a great way to keep cool and protect your precious skin.

5. Keep your energy going.

Snacks and water are a must-have for beach trips, so be sure to pack healthy snacks to keep the little ones happy. You can set up at accessible picnic grounds to enjoy your meal, but if you want to pack light, choose a beach with food vendors or restaurants nearby that are wheelchair accessible.

6. Lifeguards on duty.

To ensure your family’s safety, it’s a good precaution to check if your beach has lifeguards on duty to keep an eye out for you and your family. Lifeguards can guide you to accessible restrooms and ramps, and will know the best places for your family with special needs to dine in after a great day at the beach.

7. Accessible restrooms and changing rooms.

Thanks to the ADA, the most common accessible areas in public spaces are the restrooms. However, you can never be too certain all beaches will be accommodating. Be sure to double check the beach you want to go to has wheelchair-friendly facilities if you’re planning a day out with a person using a mobility aid.

This year is the Americans with Disabilities Act’s 25th Anniversary, so please consider supporting full inclusion of people with disabilities by donating to The Arc, or any other disability advocacy non-profit. A great way to give back is by donating through Goodshop, where you can shop at online stores like Old Navy, Expedia, or Vista Print and they will donate a percentage of your purchase to the ADA non-profit, at no cost to you.


Janessa Dayan
Cause Outreach Associate, Goodshop
18. February 2015 · Comments Off on Doctoral Student Seeks Dads Opinions · Categories: advocacy, parent education, published elsewhere, sites to visit

This is a guest post from Claudia Sellmaier, Adjunct Faculty and Graduate Research Assistant, Portland State University,csellmaier@pdx.edu


Survey aDucksbout working fathers who raise a child with special health care needs

48,000 households in the United States include a child or children with special health care needs. Caring for a child with physical, developmental, emotional or behavioral difficulties is expensive and in 2009/2010 22% of families reported financial difficulties because of these care responsibilities. 15% were even forced to give up employment. In addition to these financial difficulties, caregivers often experience physical and emotional problems. Unfortunately, parents don’t receive the support in the workplace and/or in their communities to better integrate the demands of employment and the needs related to family care. The voices of fathers caring for children with special health care needs have been underrepresented in the past and we need to learn more about dads’ challenges and successes to improve workplace conditions and community services. What is your experience? What resources do you have in your workplace, your family, and your community to maintain employment and take care of your family?

I am a doctoral student at the School of Social Work at Portland State University and I am asking for your support. Please follow this link and fill out the 10-minute online survey. https://portlandstate.qualtrics.com//SE/?SID=SV_eP7Qzeu0bZkpmhT

Please share this information with your friends and your social networks to help me spread the word! Thank you for supporting this project to improve working and living conditions for all our families.

This is a guest post from Claudia Sellmaier, Adjunct Faculty and Graduate Research Assistant, Portland State University,csellmaier@pdx.edu

11. February 2015 · Comments Off on Welcome ‘The Mighty’ Readers · Categories: advocacy, parent education, published elsewhere


Hello ‘The Mighty‘ readers!  A quick greeting. All the links you need to know about Dads of Disability™: Stories for, by, and about fathers of children who experience disability (and the women who love them!) are right here:

PurchaseFree SamplesOn Facebook ReviewsTwitter

Remember, you can buy the eBook on major ebook stores. The paperback is also available on Amazon or by special order at your local bookstore. If you have any questions at all, please contact me.

From Shavon Brown-Robinson’s blog I Just Want to Be Superwoman

“There are many sites, blogs, support groups for mothers of special needs children. As a mom of one of those children, I can assure you these are definitely needed. Before reading “Dads of Disability” I never realized that Dads have their own unique feelings and experiences about parenting special needs children. Their voice also deserves to be heard. Reading these stories prompted me to have conversations in my own house about how our journeys and experiences can differ greatly while parenting the same child. The desire for a deeper dialogue is the greatest gift a book like this can give.”

18. January 2015 · Comments Off on Not just a meme… · Categories: advocacy, parent education, published elsewhere


An essay of mine (originally titled “Roles they are a changin’ “) has been published on the Good Men Project at:



Please read and if you enjoy, like it or share it!  Thanks,




09. October 2014 · Comments Off on Helicopter Parent · Categories: advocacy, Gary's Son, parent education, published elsewhere, sites to visit, video


I am happy that the essay I wrote for my book has had so much positive reaction in so many places.  For example, it had a follow-up essay for the Cool Cat Teacher, was reprinted in Parents.com, has been discussed in Nora Colvin’s blog, and now is reprinted at the Good Men Project.

For the first time, here is the 2008 video that is referenced in this essay.



06. August 2014 · Comments Off on Super-teacher relationships and inclusion · Categories: advocacy, parent education, published elsewhere, video


I believe that often we meet people and help them because it is the right thing to do. And you shouldn’t expect anything in return.  But when that does happen, it is usually a really good thing.

I had the privilege of being able to help out super-teacher Vicki Davis (The Cool Cat Teacher) in 2007. We have been in professional contact on and off over the years since then.  She has done some amazing things: Writing some books! Training some teachers! Being invited to Edutopia and Skywalker ranch! Raising some kids!  Teaching!

It’s really cool that she allowed me to guest post on her world-famous teacher blog and will soon be publishing an audio interview she did with me on Every Classroom Matters.  She did a great job of constructing my guest blog post with some media and videos too.

Take care, and thanks again Vicki!



28. May 2014 · Comments Off on An early father’s day present from a Jedi Knight · Categories: Gary's Son, parent education, published elsewhere


Sometimes the best father’s day gifts from a child are unintended. Small. Even seemingly insignificant to the wrong audience.

A few weeks back, I received an amazing father’s day gift from the son of my girlfriend in how he stepped up to something he sensed. I recount this story in a guest post on the Family Caregiver Blog.

Warm regards,


27. May 2014 · Comments Off on Essay on national Easter Seals site · Categories: parent education, published elsewhere, sites to visit


An essay of mine is appearing on the national Easter Seals website. The essay, Finding a Caregiver for a Child with Special Needs, previously appeared on the Love That Max blog and permission was graciously granted by Ellen Seidman to reprint.


Check it out! The essay is live now, being promoted on the Easter Seals eNewsletter, and will be linked to the Easter Seals home page in a short while.


“Be our guest, be our guest, pump out words at their behest!” As they (sort of) sang in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.

Yet that is what I will be doing for a few days. Somehow, in 2014, one writes for free very often. It helps to have other fresh sets of eyes on your work, and it helps get the word out about other (hopefully) paid projects. It’s all good!  I am actually honored to have been asked.


So, for now, I am working on some pieces for Easter Seals, the Cool Cat Teacher, and other wonderful, well-read blogs.

  • Something with a Star Wars and step-father twist.
  • Something about Helicopters and Parenting (but not helicopter parenting)
  • And something about men forgiving themselves.

And some neat news later in the week about another publication.