Just when you start to inappropriately focus too much on the challenging things about being a dad, a person comes a long with a compliment and an idea that just makes your day and recognizes the hard work we do as Dads of Disability.

Today, in the snail mail, I received this letter and a jacket patch from a connection on Facebook I only met online and corresponded with probably once. This dad started a closed group called C.L.A.D. — Caring Loving Amazing Dads.  And apparently, I ranked!  Cool…


C.L.A.D. letter – Click to enlarge

Along with the letter came the C.L.A.D. arm patch. My first merit badge since I was in scouts!


The little things that some dads will do for other dads is pretty amazing.  More about this in a longer piece at another time. I just had to share this with you!

If you are interested — and worthy — of being a member of the C.L.A.D. crew, please contact Christopher at chrissobel82@aol.com or private message him on his Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/christopher.sobel

Have a great day!


23. August 2013 · Comments Off on The anti-Ontario-autism-hate-letter experience · Categories: advocacy, Gary's Son, parent education, sites to visit, violence


That damned letter from Ontario, Canada from that sicko abusing a family with a child with autism.  Enough said about it. (If you haven’t heard of it yet, here’s an introduction to it.)

I believe that there are good people in the world.  And that they outweigh the evil.  Here’s my example from Wednesday.

We were at the Squam Lake Science Center in New Hampshire. The whole blended family. It was almost the only day all summer that we were able to do something together.

A. was doing great when I picked him up from school – but he had a very severe 45 minute meltdown in the late morning.  (He was a delight before and after though.)  During the meltdown, despite my best attempts to keep him and others safe by removing us from the situation, he ended up grabbing a woman on the arm very hard and pinching and leaving a mark. Had this woman and her family been anything other than the angels that they were, there could have been big trouble. She was actually hurt a little bit on her arm, but we separated and I helped A. get to a safe place.

Later on, we saw the woman again and I profusely apologized to her and her husband. I asked her if she would be willing to have A. apologize to her with her standing a few feet away. The tantrum was long over and he was in control, and the lady allowed A. to apologize for hurting her.

It was this lady’s understanding and compassion — her acceptance of an unacceptable event in public — that makes me think that the “Ontario Letter” crap is the ultra minority of opinion. An opinion we must make note of and combat.  But of such utter insignificance in comparison to the good in most folks.




This post is a response to a post by Vicki Davis, the Cool Cat Teacher.  I met Vicki while I was a Product Manager at Elluminate and have followed her career with much admiration.

Vicki’s theme doesn’t depend
Vicki’s post explores the philosophy of not allowing external influences to affect your attitude toward life.  Not to allow your attitude to “depend” on anything. Although her context is that of a teacher, it’s really important for anyone at any stage or place in life and career.  In fact, without naming names, the most successful folks I know have this amazing duck-like ability to let anything just roll off them; Their success doesn’t ‘depend’ on too many external forces. In my response I am adding an additional, related theme of ‘self-doubt’ to Vicki’s ‘depends.’

A secret
I have a secret that many successful folks I have had the pleasure of meeting let me in on.  Perhaps you know this secret too, but haven’t let it sink in.  Here it is: Even those folks we idolize — the ones who give the speeches, found the companies, win the awards, scream at us with motivation at the gym — those folks have crappy days and feel inadequate and probably have their ‘depends’ moments too.  But ultimately those that succeed / feel ‘actualized’ / get closer to God / move even one small step to becoming a better self — this success still doesn’t ‘depend.’  You either do, or do not (as Yoda would say).

An insightful fashion model
Even ‘perfect’ people have their ‘depends’ moments and self-doubts. Watch fashion model Cameron Russell’s Ted Talk. It’s a slightly different context and different take – but at the core, it shows that we all have questions about ourselves and our abilities or worth.  Success (however you define it) ultimately doesn’t ‘depend.’  Privately, ask a successful mentor how many times a week they feel inadequate.  Ask someone successful in your space how many times they failed before they succeeded.  Ask an entrepreneur how many times they have been completely broke but kept on going.

Ask me how proud of my son I am that he had a weekend away from his residential school with me where, for the first time in months, he didn’t pinch me once.  Do you think I am comparing that to another parent’s experiences with their typically developing child’s wins?  Does my pride in my son ‘depend’ on external conditions and events completely irrelevant to our situation? Do I doubt my parenting and love because of the situation we experience?

Thanks Vicki, you are a cool cat indeed!
Vicki, thanks for showing me that  even a busy mother and teacher can impact so many so positively without allowing ‘depends’ to get in the way.  Thanks for motivating and teaching so many teachers.  You are an inspiration.

Best to all,



Friends and fans of Vicki at schools – If you know any father’s of children with disabilities, please tell them about my Dads of Disabilities project on your Twitter (I am @garymdietz) and Facebook feeds and send them to the Submissions pages.  There are stipends for authors that get into the collection!

A frame from the Kickstarter animation

A frame from the Kickstarter animation for my Dads of Disability Book Project

I am seeking stories about all fathers of children with disabilities, but especially seeking fathers of color, fathers of children with physical but not intellectual challenges, and female and male supporters of fathers who want to write about them. And the Kickstarter for this project starts right after the 4-July U.S. holiday!