Helping Your Child with Autism Help Himself

by Areva Martin, Esq.

You can help your child with mild, moderate, or high-functioning autism learn to be a self-advocate, helping himself get the most out of school and life. Get self-advocacy tips in this excerpt from Areva Martin's book, The Everyday Advocate: Standing Up for Your Child with Autism.

by Areva Martin, Esq.

Many of the seven principles of advocacy you are using to hone your abilities as a parent-advocate for your child with autism can be adapted to your child. Your child with mild, moderate, or high-functioning autism can learn to be a self-advocate, helping himself get the most out of school and life.

  • Take Responsibility. Do not wait passively for someone to notice when you need something. If you need help, ask for it.
  • Learn. Practicing can help you do things that would have seemed too hard before, such as participating in individual education program meetings or going to the counselor's office in high school.
  • Think Critically. Know your own limits. Think carefully about what to do in situations that challenge you. If you prepare beforehand, you can make things easier.
  • Speak with Authority. You have the same rights as your peers. It's okay to ask for special accommodations in class or request a change of cubicles at work because of the noise level. Speak up.
  • Document. Keep files of your important papers and make notes about what you have learned in therapy or class, so you can review them later.
  • Collaborate. Learn to rely on your team and seek intervention when you need it.
  • Educate. Sometimes it will be up to you to tell people you have autism and explain its characteristics. In these cases, you can be the teacher.
Please don't delete it