David Hirsch’s guest on this Special Fathers Network Dad to Dad Podcast is Michael Striegl. Michael is a teacher whose core mission is to help children. Michael himself has two kids who are both autistic. Hear his story of being adopted and later raising two kids with differing special needs. It’s a fascinating listen and all on this Special Fathers Network Dad to Dad Podcast.
Dad to Dad 129 — Teacher Michael Striegl Dedicates His Life To Kids Including His Two Children With Autism
[00:00:00] Tom Couch: The Special Fathers Network is thrilled to be sponsored by Rubin Law. A multi-generational law firm dedicated, exclusively to serving families, raising children with special needs.
Michael Striegl: I realized that I need to be the calm one here. The calm one is the one who’s the leader. So we were able to kind of disentangle everything, get him back in there.
I explained to all the gentlemen, I mean, they’re not antagonist. They’re out here trying to help somebody. Who’s getting beaten up. They’ve just got the wrong story because that’s not actually what’s happening. So that’s one thing for people with special needs. If you’ve got kids with severe disabilities, The world does not understand your kid.
You’ve got to be the brand ambassador for autism, and you’ve got to be calm and in control. And you got to explain the same thing over and over and over to people.
Tom Couch: That’s our guests this week, Michael struggled, Michael, a teacher whose core mission is to help kids has to have his own Myra and Jackson [00:01:00] who both have autism.
We’ll hear Michael’s life story of being adopted and raising two kids with varying degrees of special needs. That’s all on this Special Fathers Network, Dad to Dad podcast. Here’s our host David Hirsch.
David Hirsch: Hi, and thanks for listening to this Special Fathers Network Dad to Dad podcast. I’d also like to offer my heartfelt thanks to the donors who supported the 21 CD Ironman campaign. Thanks for your generousity.
Tom Couch: The Special Fathers Network is a Dad to Dad mentoring program for fathers raising children with special needs. Through our [00:02:00] personalized matching process, new fathers with special needs children connect with mentor fathers in a similar situation. It’s a great way for dads to support dads, to find out more, go to 21stcenturydads.org.
David Hirsch: And if you’re a dad looking for help or would like to offer help, we’d be honored to have you join our closed Facebook group. Please go to facebook.com groups and search Dad to Dad.
Tom Couch: So let’s listen to this conversation between Michael Striegl and David Hirsch.
David Hirsch: I’m thrilled to be talking today with Michael Striegl of Anaheim, California, who is a father of two and a high school teacher at Compton Unified School District Domingos High. Michael, thank you for taking the time to do a podcast interview for the Special Fathers Network.
Michael Striegl: Thanks so much. I’m happy to be here.
David Hirsch: You and your current wife, telly have been married for 11 years and of the proud parents of Myra 19 and Jackson 17, who both have autism. Let’s start with some background.
Where did you grow up? Tell me something [00:03:00] about your family.
Michael Striegl: I grew up in Chicago. Not too far away from you, David. I think up on the Northwest side, my, uh, background was, I was very lucky when I was growing up. I was adopted at birth through Catholic charities and I was adopted to a middle-class family that really wanted to have kids.
And so I got to have all the benefits of that growing up at a stable middle-class background, growing up, went to Catholic school long enough to turn into a complete atheist. And then I was on my own tearing up the streets of Chicago. It was only later in my life that, um, I really made a concerted effort to find my biological family primarily because I was wondering, is there some history of autism what’s going on there?
And you know, it was always a. Well, part of the book of my life that I just had no ideas about. And I’m fortunate to say that I found them. It turned out okay. No history, autism, but I found my biological family.
[00:04:00] David Hirsch: Well, let’s dig a little bit deeper. Cause we did talk about that in a previous conversation.
Let’s talk about your biological father. First you’d mentioned, uh, you only learned about your biological family later in life. How old were you and what were the circumstances that led you to learning about them? And what did you find?
Michael Striegl: Yeah, well, I was really old. This was only three years ago, so it was 50.
It had I’m sure like anybody who’s adopted out there, you always wonder, and being a high school teacher, I assumed. I’ve seen all too many teenagers having kids themselves. You just wonder you look at the chain that’s going on in that family. They’re growing up. Their parents are kids. Those kids are going to be passed off to other kids.
I mean, not in I’ll say cases, but you just wonder. So that’s what I always kind of figured, but I didn’t know. And over the course of my life, I had written in many charming, full tales about that period of my life. Like [00:05:00] maybe what it could have been like. And when I was a kid, it was secretly, I was a Prince or something, you know, stuff like that.
And, um, real life rapidly became more interesting and more demanding. Like I say, it was, um, having kids with autism that really made me think about that in probate. So. Uh, by the time I found my biological family, I was just a little bit too late. My biological parents had died within six months and a year and a half, but I got to discover, I had four full siblings who never knew about me.
And, um, and it’s been, um, it’s been a real treasure getting to know them.
David Hirsch: So what did you learn about your dad and your mom for that matter? Okay.
Michael Striegl: Here’s something, this is not. Probably the most important thing, but to me, subjectively super important, you know, when I was growing up and even still now I feel an affinity towards the sea and towards the ocean.
I’ve always had those [00:06:00] kinds of longing sailorish romantic impulses. When you look over to the horizon and I come to find out that my father was in the Navy. And that was one of the key things behind the adoption of me. This was the Vietnam war. He was in the Navy and he got my mother pregnant, who was a Catholic school girl at the time that kind of led up to the abort, uh, portion.
No, for the adoption would have been a very different story. But, you know, in me, it always made me wonder, like, what is filial obligation? What is duty? What can be passed down from father to a son if you never actually meet your father. And I wonder if he felt the same way that I feel about the ocean. I don’t know.
David Hirsch: How about, about your siblings here? Actual biological siblings.
Michael Striegl: They’re a real pleasure. One of the earliest things to understand was it was time for me to look at myself differently too, because I [00:07:00] switched generations. The family that adopted me, my parents were world war two era. And, uh, I was the youngest in the family, in my biological family.
My parents were actually much younger. They were Vietnam era and I was the oldest of all the siblings. This kind of forced to re-evaluation because in sibling constellation, there’s a big difference between the oldest and the youngest. You know, the oldest tend to be more serious and more responsible.
The youngest tend to be kind of jokers. So it was interesting because it made me look at myself and I told my brother, Joe, He can still be the oldest brother. I, I’m not going to swoop in and take that away.
David Hirsch: Okay. Well, what a amazing gift later in life to learn about your birth parents, and then to realize that you have, uh, four siblings all younger than you.
So thanks for sharing. Very interesting. So let’s talk about your dad, the person that raised you from [00:08:00] the time that you were adopted. Um, What did he do for a living? And, uh, tell me a little bit more about him.
Michael Striegl: Yeah, he was, um, he was a beautiful man. You know, he, uh, had a lot of gifts. He ended up being a time principal in the Chicago public school system.
And, um, he really. Had it in his heart, that his mission in life was to care for kids and help bring them up. I will remember one time when I was just a child, he brought me to a school and I was so young. I couldn’t spell my own name, but he walked me around the school. Oh, it’s a principal son. So everybody’s like, eh, and then it was a.
It was recess. And my dad got called to the office. One of the girls had been running around and she got a piece of glass in her toe and she was crying and everything. They brought it into my dad. [00:09:00] And, uh, I was thinking to myself and my kid mind like, geez kid, I don’t know. You’re just out of luck. That’s too bad.
And like dad went down on his knees and he got some tweezers and he picked up her toe and he looked at it real. Carefully. And I remember thinking, Oh, she got the, he said she got the smallest piece in there, which I, as a kid, I thought, well, wouldn’t you want to. Wouldn’t you want a small piece, it would make a smaller injury, but we know that smarter to get out.
Right. And he slowly worked that piece of glass out of her toe. And to me being a five-year old looking at some strange, dirty kid running around with a bloody foot, I was like, Oh, and I’ll never forget how he approached her. Just made her feel at ease. Did what needed to be done. That was the kind of person my dad was.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well, thanks for sharing. I’m assuming, because you’d said he was a world war II era person that he might not still be alive.
Michael Striegl: Yeah. He died in 93.
David Hirsch: Oh, wow. Okay. So you would [00:10:00] have been in your twenties.
Michael Striegl: Yeah. Um, yeah, that was good. You know, I spent a lot of my teenager years being extremely angry and rebellious and, um, The only decent thing about that was I think that my dad saw me turning the corner before he died and he knew that I was basically going to be okay.
And not just a complete mess. So that’s, that’s what makes me feel good.
David Hirsch: Excellent. I’m thinking about, uh, Grandfather is. And I’m wondering if there’s any influence that your, I guess, your adopted dad or your adopted mom’s fathers would have played
Michael Striegl: in your life. Oh, my gosh. Yes. We, the stories in this family it’s unbelievable.
Well, bore you. But so my grandfather, on my mom’s side, he was world war one that he went to France and he served in Verdun and got wounded. My grandfather on my dad’s [00:11:00] side, the struggle side served in world war II in the German army was also at Verdun also got wounded. And so you look at this narrative.
And you just want to go back in time and let these people know. Do you know that one day in a distant country, your kids are going to get together and get married. And that kind of, I don’t know the ephemera of human conflict and how ridiculous it is because the things that bring us together are stronger than the things that make us apart, all that kind of stuff, but yeah, the grandfather.
So that was another huge story. Okay.
David Hirsch: Well, it is pretty remarkable that, uh, they would have fought on different sides of world war one, and that the two families, somehow some way God’s irony, maybe God together and here they are. That’s pretty amazing. Yeah. So let’s talk about school. I remember, uh, like you were suggesting you or not on a straight path, uh, as a youth, from what I remember you telling me, [00:12:00] uh, you went to seven colleges in eight years.
Uh, before you got some focus, what’s the backstory. And, uh, how did your education proceed?
Michael Striegl: Yeah, that’s right. You know, I’m a cautionary tale for my own 12th grade students. Now that they’re getting ready to look beyond their own horizons and go into high school. I just did it the wrong way, partially because I specialize in going to the school of hard knocks and nobody could tell me anything.
And I wanted to do things how I wanted to do it. But I did it the wrong way. So I went to one junior college after another while I was working many people know that story working in the day and going to school at night. And, uh, I I’m moved a tremendous number of times, so I kept going to different schools, kept dropping credits, trying to make up new requirements moving on again.
I never really understood. And yet it was either persistence or the fear of failure. That kept me going, [00:13:00] like to know that I never really put the pieces together. All the pieces were there, but I just couldn’t figure it out. That was the thing that bothered me that kept putting one foot in front of the other and getting my ass to school.
So that was my story. I took the long way around the block, but again, you know, I’d tell my students, would I change anything? I don’t know. Yes, no. I mean, I like who I am and where I want to be. Things turned out. Okay. Maybe that was my journey.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well, thanks for sharing. I think it’s important for young people and others for that matter to be authentic.
So you, you, uh, finished college and then you got a master’s in education from university of Illinois at Chicago. Yeah. Did that lead you straight into teaching or?
Michael Striegl: Yeah, I got a job in Chicago, public schools and that was working out great. I really liked it. And then it was time to [00:14:00] move to California. Came to California, took a couple of years off to raise my kids.
Marriage went into the shredder and got divorced. Got my own place. Had to get my career back again, found a job in Compton, teach in English. And, uh, I’d been at my school since, so I’m still serving my core mission, which is to help. Okay.
David Hirsch: Excellent. Well, thanks again. So, uh, let’s just touch on marriage. Um, Since you just mentioned that, uh, your first marriage went into the shredder and I don’t want to be looking back, but, uh, your first wife’s name was Kim and she is the mother of both of your children.
So obviously she’s going to play an important role in their lives, in your life for the rest of time. And, um, I’m wondering, um, was it the move, was it the fact that they had special needs? What was it looking backwards that, uh, Led to the decision or situation that [00:15:00] transpired.
Michael Striegl: That’s a good question. Um, I tend to think it was kids with autism.
I don’t want to overstate that because, I mean, I’m sure if we had a perfect marriage, then it wouldn’t have done what it did. However, one thing that I really think about having kids with the developmental disability is that it’s something that has. Multiple maturities. You know how like if you have a bond and it matures and you get the dividend, this is something that has multiple maturities.
So in the early stages, you’re trying to understand what, what the heck is this what’s going on? How does it affect my kids? And especially if you’re first, like the only kids we have are autistic, we don’t have a basis of comparison, like so-and-so was doing this. So it’s like, it takes a years to wrap your arms around what this is, who my kids are.
What’s supposed to be normal. What’s not. And then later on you come to accept that. And then there’s, there’s more maturities of how the [00:16:00] differences in your kids start piling up until you get to a point where you know, what you have, you’re familiar with the disability. And, you know, you’ve, you’ve reached a kind of equilibrium.
So I really think it was the move to California. She worked in a new place. I was working from home. I was just being a house. I thought I had it made, but as it turns out, those were the two hardest years of my life. I kept living the same day over and over again. I was the person in the grocery store who.
Who’s talking to the cashier like unnecessarily, because it was my only adult contact in the day I was at that stage of parenting. So unsure that I was boiling down to. So I think that it was probably many different factors that led to that.
David Hirsch: Okay, well, thanks for sharing. We’ve done a special, a zoom call, biweekly zoom call on divorce.
Um, dads with children with special needs in divorce. [00:17:00] And you know, that’s just the reality for too many, uh, couples is that, uh, I’ve heard, it said it’s the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back. It’s hard enough to be a couple and then to have children and then to add. To that special needs or your case to children with special needs.
So, you know, the odds are sort of stacked against you. You really have to be almost a superhuman person, right. To beat the odds. And, uh, you know, it’s not the end of life or the end of the world, but, uh, no doubt that in and of itself adds some different challenges to your family dynamic just because-
Michael Striegl: It does and you know, I’m also pleased to report though that. Things have turned out. Okay. Me and Kim now are really, we’re the kind of like divorces that actually become friends. And, um, I feel closer to her now than when we were, we’re married at the end. And, um, I’m over there with the [00:18:00] kids every Saturday. So every Saturday I’ll come at around seven o’clock I’ll stay until like 10:00 PM.
Just take care of everything. But to give her one day off. And, uh, I really liked the job that she’s done with the kids. I just respect her and admire her and, you know, things have turned out. Okay.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well, thanks for sharing. I think it’s really important to acknowledge that. So you’ve been remarried since 2006.
You mentioned that a tele is from Jakarta. And from what I remember, you met through the work that she was doing.
Michael Striegl: That’s right. I, uh, she was an aide in a special education classroom that my son Jack was going to in California. This is the reason why we moved out here from Chicago was California and New Jersey.
Like we talked about for some reason, seemed to be the two areas that are like on the cutting edge of autism therapy and research and interventions. So, you know, nothing against New Jersey, [00:19:00] but given the choice. Yeah. Going down to the Palm trees and the ocean, for sure. So, um, one of the great things that they had here in orange County, California, and maybe this is another places I don’t know, but they hadn’t done an assessment center for early intervention.
So the districts tended to pick up kids when they were two. But we know that the research shows that kids with autism, a lot of times, they present way earlier than that. And the sooner you can intervene the better. So this was a program specifically set up for kids 18 to 24 months old. So I had my son Jack in there and tele was one of the special education age who was a paraprofessional in there.
And I got to know her through my time in the class because they would let the parents come in. We could see through one way the glass, what they were doing with the kids. But I got to tell you, I was not observing my son. I was observing telly.
[00:20:00] David Hirsch: Okay. Well, thanks for sharing. So, how did the autism diagnoses, uh, come about?
What was your first reaction?
Michael Striegl: Um, I didn’t know what to make of it, and I have kind of a funny handicap. I tend to be, um, an optimist and being optimistic gets you in more trouble than being pessimistic. Nope. I didn’t really understand what this meant and maybe it was fine. Maybe that was protective in that way.
I thought that things were going to be just fine.
David Hirsch: So at what age was Maria diagnosed and how did that transpire
Michael Striegl: then? So she was diagnosed at, uh, the age of four. She was diagnosed late. She came up. Uh, out of the box screaming and, uh, you knew right away something was wrong. Like, [00:21:00] like the nurses in the hospital, like they, they were like this child won’t stop screaming.
Here you go. And they walked out of the room. We had no idea. People said it was colic and you know, college is bad, but you never thought it was like this. She screamed for two years straight every time, every waking moment. So. To look back now. It’s not hard to understand why we were just totally blind to the situation.
So, you know, when you hold a baby, you hold the baby up. Well, if you’re, if you have. Overstimulation with your senses. You’re holding a baby up that baby, staring at the ceiling, staring right into the lights, without the ability to look away. Of course the baby’s going to scream. I’d be walking around with the baby, like this being like, Ooh, please be quiet.
What’s mad. Or like I was the matter. Or she had, um, she was very sensitive on our skin. So she was always pulling up the tags at the back of her shirt. Sure. We thought, look, that’s cute. She likes to play with ties. We got our toys with tags. Then come to find out, it [00:22:00] was probably annoying the heck out of her.
She was trying to pull it away. Just no idea. So, uh, that was not a happy situation. Finally, after like going from one thing to another, we had her assessed and she just had all the red flags for autism jacked on the other hand was different and worse. Jack started out. Okay. I still remember him. It is painful to remember for about 14 months.
He was a fine too growing baby. And then she lost it, his language, and then he started to regress and then he filed it fell down deep, deep, deep into a hole. So he’s now like 10 times more severe than Maria and Maria is really severe too.
David Hirsch: Well, it sounds like two very separate journeys, uh, autism diagnosis journeys, and one being just as challenging, if not more challenging the next, depending on at what [00:23:00] point in time, you know, you’re trying to, you know, compare.
So if I could paraphrase what you’ve said, Maria is verbal. Jack is non-verbal. They’re both about the same age, right. About
Michael Striegl: 19 and 17. Right?
David Hirsch: So chronologically by age, how would they compare in their ability to communicate? I know one’s verbal one non-verbal but, uh, from an intellectual standpoint, um, do you have a sense for where they’re each at?
Michael Striegl: Well intellectually, that’s a big challenge with Jackson because he is opaque. So how they compare it’s night and day is verbal. As a matter of fact, she’s verbal to a fault part of her self-esteem Tory behavior is the fact that she is always talking, literally, always talking. And the things that she’s talking about, she’s running little clips of things that she finds amusing in her head and commenting on [00:24:00] them.
She is communicative. She will let you know what she wants and what she doesn’t like. So that’s huge because we know when you can’t communicate the behaviors come. So Jack then does, is not verbal. So this causes a lot of static. Number one, it causes a lot of behavior because you can’t tell what he wants.
He can’t tell you what he wants. The way he talks is, um, he talks like a deaf person would, if you’ve heard the kind of like, like somebody who hasn’t heard speech trying to approximate it, like, uh, what the issues are that we know it’s hearing works. It’s just the way that his mind is wired. It’s the hardest thing in the world for him to produce speech.
So when we’re asking him to speak, which is like all the time, it’s an effort for him while he is non-verbal he is not quiet. So he engages in vocal, stimulatory, self stimulatory activities. If you’ve ever been around severe [00:25:00] autistic kids, you’ve heard those. So there’s those kinds of sounds. Now, this is like, well and good, I guess, except when you get out in public, because people don’t understand and many people find these kinds of vocalizations disturbing because they haven’t heard it before.
So even people of good faith will turn around and look right. And so the lived reality is as I walked by with Jack and the three one-on-one aides and my daughter who’s babbling constantly. People look at us and it’s like a traveling circus. I know that’s a lot in that answer, but yeah. Wow.
David Hirsch: There’s a lot to take in.
Uh, it sounds like it could be a rather overwhelming or stressful.
So I’m thinking about [00:26:00] advice specifically for parents or dads raising a child with differences beyond the advice you’ve already shared. Is there anything else that comes to mind?
Michael Striegl: Yeah. So if you have a child with severe disabilities, one thing that’s concerning to me over these past couple of years is you don’t want to get yourself in your family shot.
This is nearly happened to us on several different occasions. In the news. If you look around, I know here in California, there are of autistic people being shot, not just egregious things, where somebody is having a crisis, the cops come over, they lose control, but little things like, for example, in a Costco, this happened last year.
In California in a Costco, there was a family, mom and dad in some with severe autism. The son was a young adult. The son came and apparently, I don’t know what was going on, but the sun did just hit this guy in the back of [00:27:00] the head or something. Something bad happened. He’s stemming, freaking out. I don’t know.
The guy turned out to be an off duty cop. He came up and he was holding his kid. The guy was totally a victim. He came up and he shot the kid. And then, you know, dad was coming saying, no, no, my son has autism. Shout out to mom, turned around where our away he shot her too. Now I got to tell you if I was holding my little daughter and somebody hit me in the back of the head, I think I’ve been attacked.
I can do whatever I want to do. So I kind of in the moment I understand what was going on, but people, if you’ve got kids with severe disabilities, you’re so far out of the experiential range of most people, they don’t know what to do. They don’t even know if you’re playing a prank on them. The very day after this happened last year, I was talking to the aides and we were getting ready to go for a morning outing.
And I mentioned them about the Costco incident. Would you believe that later that day, We’re having severe behavior in the car. This was Saturday and severe behaviors, dangerous. [00:28:00] Um, I’ve gotten bit numerous times. It can be horrible. There’s he has three people for a reason. So Jack was yelling, screaming, reaching out, trying to pull hair, like not safe to drive.
So it’s Saturday, I pull into this empty office complex and we all just roll out of the car and we have to, it’s like a critical thing that we need to do right now. We have to get him on the ground. He needs to be prone. So one guy goes on the legs. One guy gets a hand, I’ve got another hand. And then I come to look up.
And I had parked right in front of a CrossFit fitness studio and about 30 pumped bros come out. And the story that we’re sending is like, here’s a bunch of grown men on top of this kid. Who’s screaming and crying. Everybody’s like, get off the kid, get off the kid. If we got off him, he would elope. He we’d never see him again.
So I’m like, I’m dad, you don’t understand. I’m trying to deescalate the situation while containing my son. Then you would look up and there’s an entire gardening crew holding [00:29:00] up their phones. Getting a whole thing on tape amused, wondering where this is going to go. And I was just like, Hey, turn off the camera.
But I realized we’re in public. I have no right to say that. And then I read it that I need to be the calm one here. You know, the calm one is the one who’s the leader. So we were able to kind of disentangle everything, get him back in there. I explained to all the gentlemen. They’re not antagonist. They’re out here trying to help somebody.
Who’s getting beaten up. They’ve just got the wrong story. Cause that’s not actually what’s happening. So that’s one thing for people with special needs. If you’ve got kids with severe disabilities, don’t get shocked. The world does not understand your kid. You’ve got to be the brand ambassador for autism and you’ve got to be calm and in control.
And you’ve got to explain the same thing over and over and over to people.
David Hirsch: Well, that’s. That’s a lot to think about. Michael, thank you for sharing. Um, [00:30:00] I’m sort of curious to know what, uh, supporting organizations have been of assistance to you as a family or a specific way to Maria or Jack for that matter.
Michael Striegl: Yeah. So, uh, we’ve had several organizational supports. The most important of the organizational supports is the regional center of Southern California. And I believe regional centers are set up nationwide. Anyways, long story short, the regional center has been really important to us because they have been able to fund and a company that provides one-on-one AIDS to us.
Because now that Jack is older, he engages in behaviors that are extremely challenging, both self-injurious and aggressive to the point where he requires three on one eight. During the day and two on one AIDS at night. So they accompanied Jack and it’s basically three big things. The guys who are trained in the basics of pro at they, and they’re designed to keep him [00:31:00] safe and other people around safe.
And like I say, it’s even two on one at night from eight to eight. So at three in the morning, he didn’t come out and there’s a couple of guys they’re on their phone regional center. Was the body that set up funding for these in-home AIDS to come. And that’s been really important because doing this on our own would have been tough.
David Hirsch: Cool. Does that take place at your home as well as Kim’s or?
Michael Striegl: We’re usually based at Kim’s home, just because we know autism is the same as disease and changing things up is can sometimes lead to problems that you didn’t anticipate. But when I bring them over here, the aides come over here. We all go together.
We’re one big traveling show.
David Hirsch: Okay. Like you said, it’s a different challenge altogether. Yeah. I remember in our prior conversation, you mentioned something about the spirit league and I’m wondering what your involvement has been there as well.
Michael Striegl: Yeah. So spirit league [00:32:00] is great. So Maria is 14. It’s not enough to go to a private school for kids with autism.
And one of the things that they organize, it’s mostly through the school, but it’s a separate organization. It’s called spirit Lake. And anybody who has played in any of the various leagues will recognize a structure, but this is a league just for developmentally disabled kids. They have three seasons.
And, um, it is really valuable because on Saturdays, I coach I’ve coached for 10 years. I don’t really know what I’m doing, but I do know kids. And I do know that’s where a kid should be on Saturday, out in the park, on the grass, kicking a ball around. Like around each other. That’s what kids need. Doesn’t take a genius to see that.
So spared league is the thing that is able to provide that. And so that’s really great because if it wasn’t for that, there’s just no opportunities for socialization.
David Hirsch: Okay. Um, I remember the name Adrian Silva, but I can’t remember. [00:33:00] What context?
Michael Striegl: Yeah. So she has been really valuable to us. She is, uh, an ABA therapist and she’s been with us for the long haul.
She has gone through several different companies. She started her own company. But, uh, she’s been great. And with her, I really, the benefit of having an ad for kit, she knows our kids really well. She has designed ABA programs for them, and she’s been able to accompany us to IPS. And, you know, whenever we roll into an IEP, it’s like half the school district shows up.
I mean, there’s literally therapists and administrators and teachers, and everybody gives their report and it kind of feels. It’s it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Cause everybody wants you to go along with the program. Everybody has their own thing. And I have found that it’s Adrian, because as a parent, if you start asking questions, you can very easily be like, Oh, you know, get the reputation, like, like being hard [00:34:00] to deal with.
But I found that it’s Adrian, who not only asks hard questions, but she thinks some questions I didn’t even think of. I’m like, Oh, wow. So anyways, she’s been really helpful to have on our side, through the long haul. Excellent.
David Hirsch: Thanks for sharing. I’m sort of curious to know why is it that you’ve agreed to be a father as part of the Special Fathers Network?
Michael Striegl: Hey, you know what? I really like your mission. And like I said, I’ve seen a lot of focuses on, on moms is there should be, and on kids is there should be, but nobody ever talks about dads. Until I heard about you and your broadcast. So I applaud you for that. And if there’s some usefulness, somebody can get out of this down with it, for sure.
David Hirsch: Well, we’re thrilled to have you thank you for being part of the effort. Let’s give a special shout out to our mutual friend, Dr. Lisa Boskovich for making the
Michael Striegl: interview. Excellent. Yeah. [00:35:00] Congratulations. Lisa,
David Hirsch: if somebody wants to learn more about your situation or to contact you, what’s the best way about going there?
Michael Striegl: Yeah. Just email me. I’m happy to talk to people. Do you want an email address? Sure. Oh my God. It’s um, you’re going to regret this. It’s my name. So it’s firstname.lastname@example.org.
David Hirsch: We’ll be sure to include that in the show notes to make it as easy as possible for somebody to reach out to you.
Michael Striegl: I would be happy to help for sure.
David Hirsch: Michael, thank you for taking the time and many insights. As a reminder, Michael is just one of the individuals. Who’s part of the Special Fathers Network, a mentoring program for fathers raising a child with special needs.
If you’d like to be a mentor father or are seeking advice from a mentor father with a similar situation to your own, please go to 21st century [00:36:00] dads.org. Thank you for listening to the latest episode of the Special Fathers Network Dad to Dad podcast. I hope you enjoyed the conversation as much as I did.
As you probably know, the 21st Century Dads Foundation is a501c3 not-for-profit organization, which means we need your help to keep our content free, to all concerned. Would you please consider making a text stackable contribution? I would really appreciate your support. Would you please share the podcast and post a review on iTunes to help us build our audience? Also remember to subscribe so you’ll get a reminder when each new episode is produced.
Michael, thanks again.
Michael Striegl: David it’s been a pleasure.
Tom Couch: And thank you for or listening to the Dad to Dad podcast presented by the Special Fathers Network. The Special Fathers Network is a Dad to Dad mentoring program for fathers raising children with special needs through our personalized matching process, new fathers with special needs children connect with mentor fathers in a similar situation.
It’s a great [00:37:00] way for fathers to support fathers go to 21stcenturydads.org. That’s 21stcenturydads.org.
David Hirsch: And if you’re a dad looking for help for we’d like to offer help, we would be honored to have you join our closed Facebook group. Please go to facebook.com groups and search Dad to Dad. Also, please be sure to register for the Special Fathers Network bi-weekly zoom calls held on the first and third Tuesdays of every month.
Lastly, we’re always looking to share interesting stories. If you’d like to share your story or know of a compelling story, please send an email to David@21stcenturydads.org.
Tom Couch: If you enjoyed this podcast, please be sure to subscribe on iTunes or wherever you listen.
The Dad to Dad podcast was produced by Couch Audio for the Special Fathers Network. Thanks again to Rubin Law for supporting the Dad to Dad podcast. Call Rubin Law at (847) 279-7999 and mention the Special Fathers [00:38:00] Network for a free consultation. (847) 279-7999.