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

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.



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.


27. May 2014 · Comments Off on Radio Interview with Gary on The Coffee Klatch · Categories: advocacy, book status, parent education, sites to visit


Here is a 30 minute Father’s Day radio interview with Marianne Russo of The Coffee Klatch / Special Needs radio with yours truly.

It is really an interesting interview.  Thanks Marianne!

Listen here:

Online Parents Radio at Blog Talk Radio with The Coffee Klatch on BlogTalkRadio

Thanks, and Happy Father’s Day!


(Originally posted June 15, 2014)

29. April 2014 · Comments Off on The Run-on Sentence Edition · Categories: book status, published elsewhere, sites to visit

With an unbelievable two weeks since the release day of my book, I present to you a run-on sentence of what I’ve been up to.  Yes, this is what it feels like in my head right now. This is “indie marketing.”

Just got back from Maryland for a day trip presenting to the NIH with a guy from the PCPID White House staff in attendance good thing he was a nice guy and I had practiced earlier in the week at Nashua Community College oh my God the poster for the Parenting NH Family Fun Fair  was wrinkled because I used the wrong glue I have to get to Staples and redo it laminated for the Family Support Conference oh I hope I can reuse it for the All Abilities Event and wow, A&E Roastery is actually selling my book with coffee even though they are not a book store and my Love That Max guest post hit a day early better get on Twitter wait…


…I just got a call from Marla at Special Mom’s parenting magazine she needs my questionairre – oh and Mantu Joshi of The Resilient Parent wants to do that podcast with me and jeez I need to get the artwork to go with my sponsorship of the Coffee Klatch Radio and uh-oh I need to start prepping for my Tilton-Northfield Rotary lunch and also the Gateways Supports direct support provider luncheon keynote OMG I am writing speeches for myself not someone else and I need to follow-up with a ton of reviewers and darn I need to relax for my Cool Cat Teacher Every Classroom Matters interview and the Tilton Inn book reception planning…

…Deep Breath.

Oh, and my paying clients need attention too.

Have a great day.


07. February 2014 · Comments Off on Harry Nilsson Documentary and Dads of Disability · Categories: sites to visit, Uncategorized, video


I watched Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him?) over the course of the past few days on the FlixoftheNet. And what exactly does this have to do with Dads of Disability?


First of all, among the many hits he wrote for himself and others, he wrote what I think is the seminal “Dad” song of all time: the theme from “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father.”  You can listen to it here  (OK, maybe “Cat’s in the Cradle” by Harry Chapin is better known and is a tie for “best Dad song.”)

Despite my son’s speech challenges, we can still sing that song together.  He especially enjoys the silly “scatting”-like words at the end.

Secondly, the documentary shows that, despite Nilsson’s father abandoning him at age 4, he evolves to have deep relationships with a son from his first marriage and the children he had in his last.  I think it is a pretty touching tribute to fatherhood.

Finally, it’s a great (if not a touch too long) documentary about a man whose musical influence usually goes unmentioned.  Watch the doc, and you’ll see just how many of his songs you know and how many people he influenced. And how sad it is that we lost him so young.