09. March 2015 · Comments Off on An open letter to the New Hampshire House Finance Committee · Categories: advocacy, money and finance, parent education, video

Here is a letter I provided to the NH House Finance Committee today.  It could have been written in 2013, 2011, 2009, 2007, 2005, 2003, 2001…  You get the idea.  I have tremendous respect for advocates who have been at this for far longer than I.

The video that the letter refers to appears at the bottom of this post.

From:              Gary M. Dietz
Subject:          Wait List / Transition Funding / Developmental Services
Date:               March 9, 2015 (although it could be any year from past decades)

Dear New Hampshire House Finance Committee Members,

I am writing in support of level or even increased funding of the wait list (now called transition funding). My rhetorical outreach is similar to many of the folks you will hear in person today. But my outreach also has political overtones.

Back in the late 1980’s, our state made bipartisan commitments to fund community-based supports for those with developmental disabilities. Not only are community based supports more effective, more humane, and family and community centered, they are less expensive than other supports.

Yet every two years we must come to these “begathons” to remind our elected leaders of past promises, economic sacrifices made by families, and to discuss what government – even a small government – should be doing as a safety net for individuals and families.

I encourage you to watch a short video I put together that describes the political and economic reasons funding the wait list and developmental services makes sense. You’ll note that the date on this video is March 2011, almost 4 years ago to the day. Some of the facts may be slightly out of date, but it just as well could have been March of any of the two year periods before it for the past 30 years. You see, these are our realities. And your vote every two years impacts real families. Families who also understand what family values are.

You can find the video here. (I assure you it is not a slideshow filled with emotional photos of children, although those too are important to watch.) Rather, it contains opinions that I hope will inform your policy making.

Thanks for your time and support. Feel free to reach me at the number above at any time.

Gary Dietz

 

 

 

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

Hi,

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.

Thanks,

Gary

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

Hi,

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!

Gary

 

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

Hi,

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?

harrynilsson

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.

Cheers,

Gary

 

27. June 2013 · Comments Off on An unusual one year anniversary · Categories: Gary's Son, video

Hi,

Today, my son now age 13, has been at a residential school for exactly 1 year. Here is a video of his end-of-year academic award. Check out that proud smile at 0:33 !!!

2013 ceremony video

Click image to launch MP4 video of the ceremony (0m 45s long)

Two great things for those not familiar (1) He was able to handle the noise and clapping of the ceremony for a good 1/2 hour and (2) He went up to accept his award by himself (with some coaching). I have a ton of reflections both challenging and joyous. I just ask for your continued support of him and me.

Best,

Gary

P.S. Although I appreciate the good intentions, when people tell me “just think about it like he went to college early,” I want to…  well, let’s just say its an unhelpful analogy.

P.P.S The Kickstarter should be live around July 8. I hope you check it out, if only for the cool animated video.