Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Self-Advocacy Project

As school in the States marks it’s halfway point for many of us, it’s already time to start thinking about the next school year.  Really. As we all know, preparing for school doesn’t happen in a matter of minutes, unless we’re talking oversleeping an alarm clock.

Is your child about to enter a new school? Will this be the first year your child has a “plan” in place? Or is college on the horizon? This is the time to start looking ahead for next year. You have over a semester’s worth of school under your belt. What’s working? What isn’t? Where will your child be? The same school? Homeschooled? A jump to middle or high school? Or moving, altogether?

If your child is young, self-advocacy is a bit harder to encourage, but it can be done. For kids nearing the end of middle school, now is the time to prepare them for high school, letting them know you will be working together to help them self-advocate, to “speak up for themselves”. Once high school hits, students are expected to wean off mom and dad and spread their wings. Sure, levels of independency will vary, but the expectation is there, just the same.

It’s a lot to take in, isn’t it? And I’m only one mom. Sure, Kristina is doing very well, especially considering where we’ve come from, and you all know I’m willing to help as I can, and I will. But, self-advocacy is one area where we need more voices to come forward and share so that other families, other students, will have the best shot at growth they possibly can.

I need you. Each and every one of you who has an interest in this topic.

Who do I need?

  • Parents who’ve “been there, done that” (whether your child has graduated from high school, or not quite yet - of both girls AND boys!), I’d love your tips. With an eye toward the day when your child walks across the graduation stage, tell us what worked, and what you wish you knew.
  • Parents who are just starting this journey, I’d love your questions. No question is “silly, stupid, asked too many times,” etc.!
  • Those on the Autism Spectrum who have been there, and would love for someone to listen to what YOU have to say!
  • Teachers and other professionals who would like to provide their perspective.

Why am I asking for this? 
I am planning a blog (or blog series, depending on how many would like to participate) regarding self-advocacy.

What else do I need?  
Your permission. Here’s some fine print. (Gotta “love” fine print, right?) By commenting on this blog post or the Asperger's in PINK Facebook page, you are giving your permission to freely, without compensation, use your tips on this blog, which will be tweeted, shared, etc. I will not use your name, unless you specifically tell me it is ok (for your own privacy). So, if you’d like proper credit, just let me know, ok? No problem!

How should you provide tips? 
Either leave a comment below (stating whether or not it is ok to reference you by name, initials, etc.), comment on my Facebook page, or email me directly. And, yes, comments are screened before hand, which is why yours do not automatically appear. You can "thank" the spambots for that. *sigh*

Questions? Leave them below!

Can I pass this on to my friends, family, etc., for their input? Sure!

I believe we learn and grow best when we choose to listen, truly listen to each other, with open minds. And to gather tips to help others, we need to work together to make it the best list out there!

Ready? Go!

More fine print: By contributing to this project, you agree that any and all of your tips, questions, suggestions, etc., left as a comment on this specific blog post, under specific Facebook status updates on the "Asperger's in PINK" page, and via email to Julie are able to be used freely, without compensation of any kind. Your name, screen name, etc., will only be used with your expressed written consent, and your contact information will not be disclosed nor shared.

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