Helping Your Child with Autism Help Himself

Updated: May 15, 2019
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.

Helping Your Child with Autism Help Himself

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.

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