#018 Developing the chutzpah & skills for extending invitations ~ with Tom Doody  2 of 2

#018 Developing the chutzpah & skills for extending invitations ~ with Tom Doody  2 of 2

You can listen to this podcast episode on iTunes or Spotify

If you haven’t heard episode 1 of my interview with Tom Doody, go back and check it out! You can find it here

If you would like a printable pdf of Tom’s tips and tricks, click here. You can refer back to it next time you are trying to work up the chutzpah to extend an invitation or trying to figure out how to do it well.  

Tom Doody has been involved with disabled people for over forty years. He has worked in a variety of services in direct service, management, and consultative roles. For the past thirty-five years he has been actively involved with Social Role Valorization training. For the past thirty years, a major part of his work has been to encourage families and agency staff to actively promote greater community involvement. His main work during this period has been as coordinator of North Quabbin Citizen Advocacy, an organization exclusively focused on recruiting and supporting freely-given relationships between disabled people and their non-disabled neighbors.  

Last week Tom and I talked about how hard it to extend invitations and build relationships but why it matters so much. Today we get down to how to do it well.  

Tom shares lessons about how to go about it, but also how to get one’s head and heart psyched up to do it – to make an invitation.  

Here are some of Tom’s tips for developing the chutzpah, enthusiasm and the courage to extend invitations. 

1. Genuine enthusiasm about the person’s potential gifts and about their potential. Believe that it is true that it is good for others and the community when that person is included. (Because it IS true!) 

2. It is a good thing and has benefits for ALL of us.  

3. Keep in mind that you are extending an invitation to an opportunity. Not exhorting them to do something they don’t want. This is related to idea that people have gifts.  

4. Try to get excited! 

5. Assume the positive intent of all the parties. Believe in people. That they want to be together. They are of good heart.  

Important ideas for helping you to do a good job of extending invitations.  

1. Have a vision of what life might look like short term and long term and the patterns that get established. Patterns of diversity in wider community leads to more people developing the chutzpah for swimming upstream because it matters.  

2. Ask yourself, what is my role in helping that vision to be achieved?  

3. First impressions matter. Looking good is pretty important. The first impression of both the person that is asking and the person you are asking for matters.  

4. Be really clear and honest about the invitation. Honesty counts.  

5. Consider the matter of fit. Is there a shared interest? A way to contribute? The person who drives other kids to activities for example. 

6. Asking non-specific questions like “do you want to be friends with someone who has a disability?” isn’t clear or helpful. What does that mean? Make the invitation specific.  

7. Consider extending invitations to things that are do-able in the beginning. Make it easy when you start.  

8. Keep on making efforts in this direction. Persist over time.  

9. Help people to discover their affinities.  

10. Keep on trying new things.  

11. Think about what your child’s contribution could be. Consider adaptations so that things work for people so that they can make that contribution.  


People get excited about the possibility of being helpful to someone else.  

Not everyone all the time. But it happens for some.  

It is not easy for all kinds of reasons. But some of it isn’t that hard either! 

Showing up in community. Ensuring that there are roles in school. Looking for places in community where kids come together. Being sociable. Building relationships with the parents of other kids in your community (not just parents of other kids with disabilities). Thinking of ways of being helpful.  

Keep your eyes on the prize.  

Well, what do you think? Is there anything that Tom mentioned that you could implement? I know there are definitely areas that I could work on. Awkward sometimes, but honestly, maybe not that hard either. And definitely worth it.  

If you would like a printable pdf of Tom’s tips and tricks, click here. You can refer back to it next time you are trying to work up the chutzpah to extend an invitation or trying to figure out how to do it well.  

Thank you for joining me! If you’d like to support the podcast, consider submitting a rating and review on iTunes. You can do this by going to the show in iTunes or the podcast app, scrolling down until you see ratings and reviews and tapping “Add a review.” This might seem like just one more darn thing for you to do. And I know you have enough on your plate! But if you think that others would enjoy or benefit from the Good Things in Life podcast then this is how you tell iTunes that you think they should tell other people about it. I appreciate it. 

Until next time, I hope you are well, dreaming big for your child with a disability and moving forward towards that vision. Take care! 

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Special thanks to Tom Doody for joining me this week. Until next time!

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