Can you introduce yourself and let us know your involvement in the special needs community?
My name is Chuck Walley and I am the Sunday evening and Wednesday evening co-moderator of The Coffee Klatch. These duties include riding shotgun with Marianne while she conducts here interviews and I sometimes conduct them myself. Occasionally, Marianne hands the keys to me and I moderate where my experience lends itself to the topic.
My roles in the special needs community consist, primarily, of advocating for my 15 year-old son, who was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome.
How did you get involved in The Coffee Klatch? Do you have a specific role there?
I began using Twitter in the spring of last year and I quickly crossed paths with Autism advocates, one of them being Elyse. Her blogs about her sons described my son to the T so we formed a Tweeting relationship. Elyse led me to The Coffee Klatch, where I quickly found many kindred spirits.
What are your goals in your work at TCK? What do you hope people get out of it?
My goal is to evangelize The Coffee Klatch to as many people as possible. We have an outstanding network of experts, advocates and cheerleaders available to anyone for the asking.
Conversely, I hope to make lifelong contacts and friendship with the wonderful people involved with this network. The resiliency, drive and passion exhibited by these parents, experts, teachers and therapists continually inspires and amazes me.
How has being part of TCK changed your personal life? Do you have an anecdote to share about that?
INSPIRATION. My son has Asperger’s Syndrome and raising him is fraught with challenges. However, the parents I’ve met through The Coffee Klatch continue to inspire, guide and challenge me.
During a “fathers only” session we were discussing what we’ve learned from fathering children with special needs. One father wrote, and I’m paraphrasing, “Being the parent of a child with special needs requires you to set aside your fear and embarrassment and step up to learn and better yourself for your child.”
Is there a particular show you’d really like to call our attention to? Why was that one you want to make sure your readers don’t miss?
It is the very “fathers only” chat – it was powerful and inspirational. Fathers today are breaking down barriers and we are not afraid to talk about the issues we face on a day to day basis.