Summer and Dads of Children with Special Needs

For more info go to

Summertime Ideas for Dads

Summer time can be a particularly stressful time of year for us dads that are raising special needs children. One of the ways our family and many that we have served go through this time is by networking with other parents to do activities jointly with our kids.

Here are just a few ideas of what you can also take advantage of:

Many local parks have free and reduced priced local camps and many will work with our kids

The Boys and Girls club offers many programs and they do sliding scale

If you are in the Central Puget Sound there is a wonderful program called Sea Scouts.

DadsMOVE will be posting activities throughout the summer so keep looking for things to do at our website.

Attend local support groups to meet other parents like you

Special Families of Puget Sound host and posts many events and activities.

And don’t forget to give you and your significant other time for your own self care


Guardianship Resources and Family Stories Part 3 of 3 One case where guardianship may have helped – what’s best for your loved one?

“Our son’s life was going along smoothly and when he turned 22 he fell in love for the first time.  He fell hard and unfortunately, the woman he loved found out that he received a social security benefit and decided that our son would become her meal ticket.  The next thing we knew he was moving out, shacking up with a woman he had known for 2 weeks and she wanted to become his representative payee. Three weeks into their love affair they announced that they planned to get married and moving to Mexico.  We contacted APS, Adult Protective Services, to see if they could help with this situation.  Unfortunately, because we were not legal guardians and because our son presented well, APS would not open a case.  Next was the news that our son had become a mule for drug deliveries…it went from bad to worse and then real scary.  In the end we made this drug dealers life miserable and she dropped out son back off to look for an easier target.”

Continue reading “Guardianship Resources and Family Stories Part 3 of 3 One case where guardianship may have helped – what’s best for your loved one?”

Guardianship Part 2 of 3 Alternatives to Guardianship & Supported Decision Making


Guardianship, utilized when a person can no longer make or communicate safe or sound decisions about his/her person and/or property or has become susceptible to fraud or undue influence. Because establishing a guardianship may remove considerable rights from an individual, it should only be considered after alternatives to guardianship have proven ineffective or are unavailable.

Alternatives to Guardianship may include:

Representative payee; allowing someone else to assist with your finances, pay your bills, manage your benefits (if applicable) and provide assistance in an attempt to keep a person free from abuse and neglect.

Case/care management; in many cases the DDA case manager becomes a person to assist with IEP issues, living issues and providing resources and guidance on living, financial and social needs. The case manager may also be the manager in the home an individual lives in.

Health care surrogacy; with some individuals, health care can involve life and death decisions.  A health care surrogate can assist with communicating the needs, desires and wishes of a person, in some cases better than the individual themselves.  A health care surrogate is an adult you authorize to make health care decisions for you if you become unable to make them.

Trusts; in Washington state we are fortunate to have the Developmental Disability Life Opportunity Trust managed by The Arc of Washington.  Money can be placed in this trust or contributed by the person themselves to cover future needs.  We all know that if an individual receives SSA benefits their liquid resource amount cannot exceed $2,000.  A DDLOT is a one way to put money aside and avoid losing benefits.

Durable powers of attorney for property; another way to assist an individual would be to have them sign a power of attorney to assist with major life decisions.  Forms can be downloaded or purchased at your local office supply store.

Durable powers of attorney for health care; again this might be an option to provide extra support to an individual who needs assistance making major health care decisions.

Community advocacy systems; connection to advocacy systems life People First, your local Arc or your local church can help individuals develop a sense of community and belonging.  Community groups help an individual avoid isolation and the change of being taken advantage of.

Joint checking accounts; another way to protect a person’s financial security would be to open an account together.  The convenience of the 21st century is that you could check the account online and assist your loved one with sound financial decisions or avoid costly mistakes.

Supported Decision Making is a concept designed to assist individuals with disabilities to authorize a surrogate decision-maker (s) to hold the individual with decisions in the areas of health, living arrangements and lifestyle.  The approach aims to maximize the autonomy and independence.  Supported decision making empowers individuals with disabilities by ensuring that they are the ultim
ate decision-maker but are provided support from one or more others, giving them the assistance they need to make decisions for themselves.

Resources that may be helpful:

Informing Families Building Trust

Disability Rights Washington

National Resource Center for Supported Decision-Making

National Guardianship Association


Dads Need Support Too!

By Nelson Rascon from DadsMOVE

Being a parent is one of the toughest jobs you can have, throw into that a child with a disability.

The daily rigors of raising a child with disabilities is not only stressful, but can damage your relationship with your partner.  Dads are stubborn creatures; I know I’m one of them! We don’t ask for help, we don’t ask for directions, and we don’t talk about our problems. While we may have the support of a loving spouse, it’s not the same as having other dads to talk to.

I am going to talk about that “dreaded” support group; the kind of thing we think is only for women. Let’s face it guys, women are way better about expressing their emotions and talking about problems with others than we are.

In my journey of raising three children with special needs, the single best thing I did was to connect with other dads like me. I went to dads support groups, dads camping trips and retreats. I cannot begin to express the difference this made for me. There is no better feeling than knowing you are not alone and making some new friends is not such a bad thing.  So next time you think you need to talk to some other dad’s that know exactly how you feel, contact us! you won’t regret it!


My Child, the Athlete: Coaching a Child with Hidden Disabilities

Over 30 million youth between the ages of 5-18 participate in youth sports every year.

Some of the most common hidden disabilities are Specific Learning Disabilities, Speech and Language, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and Autism Spectrum Disorder. Athletes with these disabilities can experience similar difficulties in understanding and developing a specific skill such as understanding a play for football or a routine for cheerleading/dance as they do in the classroom. Many coaches will have the opportunity to coach a child with one or more of these disabilities but will have no idea of the characteristics and learning strategies that are best suited for the child.

Tips to successful inclusion of athletes with hidden disabilities:

Routine is important, create an atmosphere where there is consistency. Conduct practices on the same days each week and begin and end practice at the same time.

To promote inclusion offer different skill levels during practice to help the development of each athlete (entry level, intermediate level, expert level).

Provide clear instructions/directions with an overview of how practice will occur.

The use of gestures and physical demonstration should accompany verbal instruction. Repeat and clarify instructions as needed. For example, when showing a football player how to hold a football, cue the athlete to hold one end of the ball in the bicep of the arm and the first two fingers hold the other end of the ball.

Break the specific skill into steps. For example, when teaching a basketball lay-up, first practice the dribble to the basket, second practice jumping off one foot with the basketball, and then practice shooting into the basket. Combine all three skills when the athlete is showing they are able to complete each skill.

Positive reinforcement is encouraged to keep athletes on tasks. Allow the athlete to earn a leadership role such as captain or co-captain.

Prevent challenging behaviors by redirecting the behavior. For example, if an athlete is interrupting or talking at the same time as the coach, have the athlete to help with the demonstration. This also encourages self-control.

Sports experiences can either have a positive or negative effect on a child. The interactions that a child has with their coach and teammates can affect their self-esteem. Creating a supportive environment that is respectful, inclusive, and celebrates the athlete’s development can enhance the child’s confidence and social skills.