I grew up in Monterey County, California before moving to Washington in 2022. I enjoy writing and telling stories that matter and inspire change. While completing my bachelor’s degree in psychology and my master’s degree in divinity, I worked at a non-profit children’s musical theatre company in California. After leaving the company, I created my own therapeutic encounter social skills business, teaching and helping others explore their views around social skills. A lot of my work has been with neurodivergent adults and non-profits who worked around mental health and neurodivergence. I began this position in April of 2023, and I am proud to be a part of the important work of support male-presenting caregivers as they become competent and compassionate with their families.
My wife and I have four kids and we happily reside in the sticks of Whidbey Island. I joined another dad (to support him, right?) to a Fathers Network meeting back in 1998 which was early in our parenting journey. Men of the Network have been part of our lives ever since.
Through the years I have found that often men go about parenting in different ways than women. Go figure. It is in connecting with other guys about highs/lows/challenges/triumphs of all of our children and a great deal more that I find the power of each of us multiplied. I discovered that connecting with other guys who share realities of parenting in general, and special needs in particular, to be both a wealth of knowledge and rich potential for depth of friendship and connection. The stories, friendships, and dark humor are backbones in my two decades of parenting thus far.
Hi. My name is Cliff Gillett. About 11 years ago, I found myself struggling as a full-time single dad raising 2 autistic children. I attended a conference where one of the speakers was James May, who is one of the founders and driving forces of the Fathers Network. I was captivated by his story of a group of dads who get together and share stories and hints for navigating the world of raising special needs children. When I spoke with him afterwards and he told me about the annual Campout in Anacortes, I was hooked.
I live in Maple Valley and attend the groups whenever I have the opportunity. I have been overwhelmed by the amount of knowledge available from the other Dads. Whatever I am dealing with at the time, be it schools, insurance, doctors, personal relationships or family members, etc., somebody will invariably offer up how they dealt with the same issue when it happened to them. Suddenly, I am reaffirmed that I’m not alone navigating the world of special needs, but I have a group of close friends who have been, or are still going through the same process as me.
I live in North Marysville and joined the Network about 4 or 5 years ago. My wife, Amanda, and I have five children and two of them are low functioning autistic. I joined because it can be scary to be on this journey alone and I stay because I realize that there are many fathers out there with no support group. For me the network has been helpful by providing information, support, and new friends.
I live in Everett, WA. My wife and I have 4 boys, 2 on the autism spectrum. We received our diagnosis 6 years ago and I have been with the Network for 4 years. Until joining the Network, I had never found a group of guys that allowed me to share my life’s frustrations without judgement. The funny thing is that I didn’t realize I needed the network until I was part of it. One of the things I’ve really enjoyed is that I have been able to connect with fathers of different cultures and life experiences. In the end, I am thankful for all the help and advice the network has given me and I will do all I can to return the favor.
Receiving a diagnosis was an unexpected detour. Luckily with the Fathers Network, I can stop and ask for directions.
Pasco, WA, is home and my wife and I have two children and one dog. I joined the Fathers Network in the summer of 2005. I remember because my wife had been suggesting I join ever since she suspected that something wasn’t typical with our child. I held out against her suggestions until we had a diagnosis around 12 months. At that point, I felt that I really needed help and I wanted to talk to the “experts” in the Network. I joined WSFN because I was a new dad with a lot of questions about how to care best for my child with special needs. I stayed with the Network because I want to give back to dads that are going through situations similar to what our family went through. Through the network I have made acquaintances and friends that have encouraged and blessed me and my family in many ways. But most what I have gotten is a listening ear, a good laugh, a swift kick in the butt, and a shoulder to cry on—not necessarily in that order.