Top self-advocacy tips for a person with Autism
Autism authors Monica Holloway and Areva Martin see firsthand, as parents to teens on the spectrum, the benefits that self-advocacy can bring to people withautism. They offer the following tips for self-advocacy, inspired by their own personal experiences and resources offered by Autism Speaks and the Autism Society.
- Start early. Introduce self-advocacy in a positive and familiar way. Start with small decisions and limited exposure to encourage rewarding participation.
- Identify any obstacles. Help your child participate in the way that is most comfortable and feasible for him or her.
- Disclosure. Self-advocacy may involve disclosure of a diagnosis when ready.
- Instantaneous feedback. Give your child the satisfaction of seeing instant change for their input.
- Negotiate. Work with your team to make a plan that works for all involved.
- Explain and empower. When possible, help your child articulate or express him or herself about the decision in the ways that are the most feasible for your child.
- Finalize. Affirm input with praise.
Says Holloway, "We encourage all our families and professionals to work together to help create self-advocacy opportunities as our children with autism grow into adulthood."
Monica Holloway is the author of Cowboy & Wills, a Mother's Choice Award's Gold recipient, and the memoir Driving With Dead People. Holloway lives with her son and husband in Los Angeles.
Areva Martin is mother to a son with autism, a Harvard-trained attorney, author of The Everyday Advocate, on-air legal expert, nationally recognized children's rights advocate, co-founder and president of leading advocacy organization Special Needs Network, and managing partner of the Los Angeles-based law firm, Martin & Martin, LLP, where she practices special education, labor and employment, and disability discrimination law. www.arevamartin.com