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 community-based advocacy and our capacity as individuals to improve public policy and programs that support children and individuals with disabilities. I am inspired by the improvements in legislation that I've seen because of vocal families who show up to Senate and Assembly hearings with their children. By taking time to get involved and tell our stories, we can put a face to the abstract budget figures and services which that allow children like mine to thrive. Small steps in providing support or access to services can have a large impact in the functioning and happiness of entire families. The difference a parent-advocate can make by supporting another family 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 and programs. Parents and individuals who are stakeholders are important conduits of communication to create needed change. Families can be powerful advocates because we utilize services, and have first-hand experience with the challenge of navigating complex systems.