I am a husband, father, son, brother, uncle and friend. I believe in sharing my talents and experiences by giving back to the community by giving my time to coaching, church and especially to the disability community. I truly believe that all men and women are created equally.
The Circles of Life Conference for 2013 is just around the corner. This year’s Conference is being held in Stevens Point April 25 & 26. Details and Registration can be found here: http://www.colwisconsin.org/
This year’s Keynote Speaker is Connie Lyle O’Brien, the Pioneer of Person Centered Planning.
There are a couple of listening sessions planned; one hosted by Wisconsin Facets (http://www.wifacets.org/) on your child’s special education and the other is being hosted by Family Voices (http://www.familyvoices.org/states?id=0010) on long-term care supports and health care. The connections made during these listening session are so helpful.
For the second time in less than a year, I will be co-presenting during 2 of the many break-out sessions. The first session is about dads roles in the life of a child with a disability. The second session is my role on the Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities (http://wi-bpdd.org/) and the programs that we have to offer including my experience with the First Class of Wisconsin Partners in PolicyMaking.
For me, it is an opportunity to not only share my personal experiences, but it is an opportunity to connect with those from around the State that I only get to see a couple of times per year. Not only do I renew old friendships, but I make new friends in the process.
This year, I am again taking my 2 sons. Tyler will again be participating in Gathering of the Youth, an opportunity for him to continue his transition into adulthood. It is hard to believe that he will be eligible to vote in a couple of years. Spencer will be joining in the Sibshops again. This is an opportunity for him to talk with other siblings.
In registering Spencer for the Sibshop, I shared a story with Harriet Redman, the Executive Director of the Fox Valley Sibling Support Network (http://www.fvssn.org/index.php). Last year while driving home from the Circles of Life Conference, Spencer told me how much he enjoyed the Conference. While this was his first Conference and he enjoyed the hotel and food, I asked him why. Spencer’s reply was “they get it dad. The kids in the Sibshop know what it is like to have a sibling with a disability and you don’t have to explain everything” There are so many reasons to attend this event, but it is reasons like this that make it all worthwhile.
I would strongly encourage everybody to attend. From parents, to grandparents, to siblings, to professionals and most importantly, to the self-advocates.
As with any questions, please feel free to contact me