Advocate Tom Petrik is not afraid to stand out in a crowd
Episode #34: Super Dadvocate Tom Petrik
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In today’s Purposeful Conversation, we are talking with advocate, Tom Petrik. We selected Tom to be our 2019 Dadvocate.
Who is Tom Petrik?
Tom is a teacher assistant in special education, a coach for Special Olympics, a recreational coach, Eagle Scout, and an NRA Rifle Instructor. He is currently working at a private school Camelot Therapeutic Day School in Chicago.
He’s married to his grade-school sweetheart and has four sons. Chris, his third son, who is 25, has an official diagnosis of Fragile X, and ADHD. Tom and his wife believe that he also has autism.
Why we selected Tom to be our 2019 Dadvocate?:
We’ve been running our Parenting Special Needs Facebook page since 2009, and while I’ve never had the pleasure of “officially” meeting Tom until this podcast, he has been advocating and sharing his knowledge and posting comments under our “Advice Needed” posts for years.
In the ten years that we’ve been asking “Advice Needed” questions on our page, I can count a total of (maybe) three men that have ever commented. And I don’t recall if the other two did it consistently, but Tom has done it for years! So, Tom, in my mind, stuck out from the crowd. Curiosity set in, and I wanted to know more about Tom, for instance; why he doesn’t have a problem speaking and advocating right along with a bunch of women. I thought it was time to find out more about him and to say “thank you.”
Even now as we have started a new support group called Parenting Special Needs Magazine Support Group, Tom has been right there, jumping in once again to share information and ask probing questions to help provide resources and information.
In this conversation, you’ll hear the following:
- Why Tom doesn’t have a problem advocating.
- Why he feels it’s important to advocate and what other dads need to know.
- What he wishes he knew earlier about raising a child with special needs.
- He believes we’re at a specific tipping point right now with inclusion.
- The two words Tom would like everyone in the special needs community to hear.
The key message: You can do this!
Find out what programs and supports are available from your state, every state is different.
Sign up early, many programs or services have long waiting lists.
Make sure to set future plans up in advance.
Links or articles mentioned in this podcast:
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