Get an Advocate to Assist You with Your Child with Autism
When you are raising a child with autism, there are many different types of services you may qualify for. But researching the right ones for your child can be an overwhelming experience. If you need financial help, or you are battling the school district for the services your child needs, you can get assistance from an advocate to help you with your child with autism.
Working with an advocate can give you some relief when you feel exhausted and it becomes hard to focus. Whether it is dealing with the amount of information you are receiving, if you need assistance in communicating with school district officials, or if you just need help with problem solving when issues are challenging, an advocate who knows the laws and parental rights can come in handy.
How does an advocate help?
An advocate is someone who works to improve the lives of children with disabilities and their families. There are several roles that an advocate may play in supporting your child with autism, including:
- Explaining issues
- Recommending options
- Documenting conversations
- Researching information
- Speaking on your behalf
- Helping the family with written correspondence or phone calls
- Attending meetings
- Problem solving
- Answering all your questions
- Assisting you in locating other support
Choosing the right advocate for your family
It would be useful to find out what experience the advocate has in relation to children with special needs such as autism. Skills such as communication, collaboration, presentation, and maintaining a professional relationship are important proficiencies needed by anyone who is an advocate. They should have current information and a good knowledge of special education in general as well as special education law. Care must be taken to ensure that their information is current and accurate. Practical experience such as attending IEP meetings or case conference participation should also be expected.
Understanding and Compassion
It is important that the advocate gets to know your child. This way, the advocate can better assist you in customizing your requests to the particular needs of your child. Each situation is different and requires open minds to come up with solutions based on the unique situation. The advocate should be able to fully understand and have compassion for how your child’s disability may impact his or her learning and then work with you to help prioritize your child’s needs.
Allowing You to Have the Final Say
Your advocate needs to understand that no matter what, you have the ultimate final decision-making power. An advocate who interjects too much personal preference, or who does not respect your final word is overstepping his or her role. Ultimately, decisions are for you, as the parent, to make when given options. A good advocate should know and encourage this.
The Ultimate Support
The best advocates look for win-win solutions and will support you in every aspect. This means that even though your advocate is helping you to understanding systems or working with the school to create an acceptable program for your child, he or she is also collaborating with the school and the district to achieve a solution that puts everyone on the path to success.
If this process sounds overwhelming and you feel you need help, you can always reach out to us.
American Disability Association is dedicated to the wellbeing and protection of children with disabilities and actively provides support to enhance their quality of life. Whether you are dealing with federal or state benefits or struggling with a school district to get proper education for your child, we have the resources to help you. Many individuals and families managing a disability are not aware of the wide array of services available to them, or they do not know how to apply for these benefits in a way that is likely to succeed.
Contact us for help. Dial (877) 283-4807 or email us at [email protected]