Being an advocate for your autistic child can be hard sometimes. But you can learn the skills to become a powerful advocate for autism and improve the system for all parents dealing Autism spectrum disorders (ASD).
Areva martin Esq. has some advice for how to be an advocate for autistic children. As a mother of a child with autism and a legal expert on ASD, Martin has tips that will empower you. She offers these “Seven Principles of Advocacy” in her book, The Everyday Advocate: Standing Up for Your Child with Autism.
These key principles may help you get the services and attention your child deserves in school and in life.
Principle 1 – Take Responsibility: Be a Leader
Martin’s Advice: Accepting a leadership role as an advocate for your child will bolster your position in encounters with doctors, teachers, caregivers, therapists and others who offer services to your child with autism. You are on a steep learning curve and cannot change things overnight – but do your best and over time you will make a difference.
Martin’s Advice: You don’t need a special degree to become an expert on autism; you are already an expert on your child. However, to be taken seriously as an advocate, you must know the facts about everything from the initial diagnosis to treatment options, educational choices, and federal and state laws protecting individuals with disabilities.
You must also learn the jargon and abbreviations associated with autism. Find the critical books, articles, and other materials on autism and special education. Also, identify 10 key experts in the field, read what they have published online and/or in print, and consider contacting them personally as a resource, if possible.
Principle 3 – Think Critically: Be Discerning
Martin’s Advice: In researching autism, you will be exposed to countless sources of information – from online articles, chat rooms, and blogs, to books, magazines, and newspapers. You will constantly have to weigh what to believe and what to do for your child.
Always think for yourself; examine the evidence, pros, and cons; and notice how your emotions are affecting your thinking. This helps when being an advocate for your autistic child