27. October 2015 · Comments Off on My version of the open letter to Skatepark Facebook Post going around · Categories: Uncategorized

So, by now you have seen this tweet, from 10-Oct-2015:

Here is the special needs version of that story, by me, told much earlier, and published in my 2013 book Dads of Disability™: Stories for, by, and about fathers of children who experience disability (and the women who love them!)  

Skatepark

My attitude about dads is that they need to protect their children for as long as possible based on the child’s individual needs. With that in mind, it may seem that allowing my young son to walk into a skatepark, go up to an unshaven and rattily-dressed skateboarder, introduce himself, and ask in a broken sentence if he can try out his skateboard is a situation I probably wouldn’t have approved of.

But here’s what happened.

image / flickr Ernst Moeksis creative commonsimage / flickr Ernst Moeksis creative commons

Skateboarder looks to Dad for permission. Dad reluctantly nods. Skateboarder says, “Sure” to Son.

Skateboarder takes one hand of Son; Dad takes the other. Son mounts skateboard. Skateboarder and Dad push Son slowly for twenty feet.

Dad prays there is no fall or cuts or sprained or broken bone or worse. (Dad imagines conversation with Son’s mother based on worst-case scenario. Dad quickly ceases that line of thinking.)

Son dismounts with hands held tightly by Dad and Skateboarder. Son remounts and tries again for another twenty feet.

Son says, “All done” and dismounts skateboard. Skateboarder offers to show Son tricks.

Skateboarder shows off for about ten minutes. Impressive tricks. Son, Dad, and Skateboarder have fun doing, watching, and being watched. Time to leave.

Dad tells Skateboarder, “You are very good with my son. Thanks for being so kind.” Skateboarder tells Dad, “I have a 3-year-old child with developmental disabilities. No problem. Your son is a joy.”

Dad and Son walk away. Son and Skateboarder both having taught Dad a number of lessons.

– Gary Dietz

This story is Copyright 2013 by Gary Dietz. I provide permission to share all or part of it as long as you link back to this blog at http://www.dadsofdisability.com

 

 

 

26. June 2015 · Comments Off on Playrific · Categories: Uncategorized

Source: Playrific

This is a great young company doing things with apps for young kids.  Check them out and vote for them to get some branding funding in a Boston-area marketing contest called Brandathon.

Here is the direct link:  http://adclubbrandathon.com/startup/playrific/

Be sure to click the vote button and share to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, pinterest, instagram, etc.

Thanks!

Gary

10. August 2014 · Comments Off on Every Classroom Matters Podcast · Categories: Uncategorized

Hi,

Here is the audio (used with permission) from the Every Classroom Matters podcast where I was interviewed by the Cool Cat Teacher Vicki Davis.

 

 

The podcast was about Dads of Disability, inclusion, and the guest blog post I wrote for her called “5 practical lessons for elementary classroom inclusion“.

coolcatteacher

Thanks to Vicki for a great interview!

Gary

 

P.S. The podcast feed for Every Classroom Matters can be found with a quick search on iTunes.

01. July 2014 · Comments Off on Summer Reading Sale · Categories: Uncategorized

Hi,

The Dads of Disability (ebook version only) is on sale for the month of July for US$4.99 on all platforms. That’s half-off the $9.99 list price! We’re practically giving the eBook away at the cost of the pixels only!

sale-left-redWho wouldn’t want to buy (or gift) this 5-star rated collection for parents everywhere at this sale price?

Take care, and have a great holiday week (in Canada and the US),

Gary

01. July 2014 · Comments Off on A box from 2008 · Categories: Uncategorized

I got a call from my son’s old school (he last attended there during the 2008/9 school year). They found a box of his papers and books during the 2014 end of year cleaning. (As an aside, it took 6 years?)

Anyway…

His books and papers from 2008 and 2014 show some progression, but far, far less than the progression of his typically developing age-peers.

I meet my son where he needs to be met. I am proud of who he is and how he is growing. I love him to the end of the earth.

But when and with what milestones do we slow this “mourning” process to a point where we don’t get stopped in our tracks? I know, the answer is probably “never, but it gets easier with time.”

Well, that’s where I am almost 15 years into fatherhood.

Canadians, have a great Canada Day and Americans, have a great Fourth of July!

Gary

12. June 2014 · Comments Off on A caregiver can be selfless and selfish at the same time · Categories: Uncategorized

Hi,

Today I had the honor of being the keynote speaker at a social service agency’s annual breakfast in honor of direct service providers for the elderly and children and adults with disabilities.

keynoteHere is a section of my remarks.

It is possible to do something for others while doing something for yourself. In fact, I would argue that the most effective folks in positions to support others should be doing this work, at least partially, for selfish reasons. The pride and quality that goes along with a proper combination of selfless and selfish motivations is frankly preferable to people who truly believe they are doing this work “for those poor disabled folks.”

I believe that when you can admit you are doing this kind of work at least partially for yourself, you are acknowledging that your client is offering you something of essential value in the relationship; That they are a whole person and a peer in the relationship. That it isn’t a one-way street.

Sort of like all friendships should be.

If you are interested, ask me about my Breaking Bad analogy.

And thanks again to all of the direct service providers who have helped, and continue to help, my family.

Best,

Gary

 

12. June 2014 · Comments Off on Helicopter Parent (literally) · Categories: Uncategorized

Hello,

Today, the Parents.com blog To The Max reprinted an essay from my book called Helicopter Parent.  It isn’t what you may think it is about.

parents-com-2

It’s really about helicopters. Okay, and children (and fathers) too.

“I made a phone call to the press relations contact at the Sikorsky company and asked if there was someone who could help me get some special materials for my son’s project. I told the press person about Alexander, his love of helicopters, a bit about his challenges, and what we were trying to do.

Less than a day later, I received an e-mail from Elena Sikorsky, wife of Sergei Sikorsky, Igor’s son (Igor died in 1972). She let me know that Sergei would send Alexander a package with helicopter-related stuff. Soon, we received a package with a selection of trinkets and keepsakes from Sergei’s attendance at an airshow in Europe as well as a copy of Sergei’s biography about his father. The book was autographed for Alexander and had a hand drawing of a helicopter in the inscription.

Alexander and his mother and I worked with him using large letters and pictures in a three-ring binder to remember some sentences for his presentation. We practiced getting dressed in the Igor Sikorsky suit and hat. And drawing on a mustache. All very challenging things due to sensory issues. But we practiced and had a lot of fun and he really liked it.”

Read the entire essay on Parents.com or by buying my book!

Happy Father’s Day!

Gary