Just by being willing to be an advocate is step #1- kudos!
Here are a few ways you can be a great advocate:
Learn about national issues. It is especially important to listen to individuals on the spectrum who utilize “the system” and those self-advocates who can’t get access to help. It is important to hear lots of perspectives and partner with others to speak with one voice.
Practice telling your story in 3 minutes, describe your challenges in 2 minutes, and if possible offer a practical and direct request or share your solution/idea in 1 minute. Make sure you use words that someone who has not been part of the special needs community would understand. For example, “Thank you for listening to our story and the challenges we face, please vote to increase funding in the Medicaid community waiver budget so more people like Maria don’t have to be afraid of being forced into a nursing home for lack of community supports and services.”
Explore the AHN Resource Directory for advocacy materials you may decide to use or as inspiration for your own efforts.
Share statistics and infographics on social media. The AHN offers lots of images you can share to social media and raise awareness.
Join the Coalition for Community Choice for quarterly news and action alerts.
You can start a petition for more affordable housing for autistic people and going around your neighborhood to collect signatures. The more signatures you collect the greater response you’ll get from those in power.