Tips for the Special Needs Advocate | Parents of Special Needs Children

Essential Tips for the Special Needs Advocate

No matter how many blogs we post, we can never forget the most significant voice that special needs children have: yours. Being a parent is a tough job, but we must ask that parents of children with special needs take on a second job. To fight the good fight, you must also be an advocate.

Depending upon the level of particular challenges your child has, it is essential to try to teach a certain level of self-advocacy to them as they grow if possible. But for the level of support, they will need, you are the primary voice, your level of organization and persistence will be the foundation that will enable your child to have the support they will need during their growing years.

Until then, let us share some of the best tips we have to offer.

Create an organized medical file

  • Organizational skills may never have been a high priority for you. This is not about you. Your child’s needs will leave a trail of paperwork. Keep every scrap. Make them accessible in print and digital format. If you have to, head to the library or the office supply store and make copies on a monthly basis. Create a system, then review it on a regular basis to make sure it is all in order.

?Be willing to learn

  • The education of a special needs advocate is never finished. Other parents will not encounter the subjects that you will. We are referring to your rights, what you can and can’t get for your child, new therapies and so much more. Ask questions and do not stop asking until the answers are clear. Do not settle for what doctors, therapists, and school officials tell you. Educate yourself.

?Share what you know

  • Educating others is the only way to combat ignorance and misinformation. Foster understanding and acceptance will follow. As you educate yourself, spread the wealth. Advocates create the world they want their children to live in. As the old saying goes, knowledge is power, and as you grow as an advocate, you will increase your influence in a positive way.

?Be persistent

  • Adversity tends to make us better people. When our children face adversity, it makes us better parents. Being the parent of a special needs child will give your family plenty of room for improvement. Whether it be from your doctor, the school or an insurance company, you will face more than your fair share of setbacks. Some say you should simply restate your need with a smile on your face. We advise you to be persistent. The smile is optional.

?Take care of yourself

  • Be an instrument of change. Just don’t neglect the instrument. Burning out will not help you or your child. Make sure you meet your own needs. There is no punching in or punching out, only waking up and going to sleep. Even that last part might seem elusive. Even so, get as much of it as possible.Although it may seem hard, allow 30 minutes a day for you to indulge in something constructive for “yourself.”
  • Take a brisk walk outside
  • Visit a friend
  • Go to a gym
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    Go to a local coffee shop and just empty your mind and the daily stresses
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    Read a book
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    If you are artistically inclined, paint, draw, write and even play a musical instrument
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    Watch a funny movie every once in a while

As an advocate, you need your perspective and focus over the long haul. Your child depends on it.