What drives me to add my voice on autism and other topics?As a parent of a child with special needs, I have found myself navigating an entirely new world, a hidden world of: providers, different insurance rules, education codes, legislative needs, and public systems that were slow and alienating. In the process of advocating for my child and obtaining services, I also discovered my passion: working with other families struggling with these issues and advocating at a personal level for legislative improvements. I want to further the success and impact of my community work, and legislative advocacy.
I am passionate about people and improving processes, programs, and systems to serve the public more efficiently and with better outcomes. I have been inspired and empowered by the legislation that I've seen improve with input from vocal families, who take the time to show up to each Senate and Assembly office with their child along, in order to show the faces behind the abstract budget figures and services that allow children like mine to thrive. I've been able to see large changes in the functioning and happiness of families after small steps are made to help provide support or access to services. The difference a parent-advocate can make by attending a special education meeting to provide emotional and legal support can be huge and lasting. There can also be amazing benefit from obtaining a needed services for a child, and in turn, the entire family benefits.
I believe that it’s possible to make a positive difference by making small and smart improvements to the public policy, processes, programs and systems that serve these families. I also believe it’s powerful when these small policy improvements are communicated clearly to the community members who need them the most. I believe that it’s more effective for parents or advocates who utilize these services, and who understand the challenges first-hand from having had to navigate these complex systems, can be the conduits of communication with other families.