There's a great need in our community for Autism Advocates. Parents of newly diagnosed children often do not know where to turn, or how to get the school to work for them. For this reason and more, we need more advocates.
Do You Have What it Takes to Become an Autism Advocate Consultant?
Being a special needs mom myself, I know how hard it is to make ends meet. I can't work outside of my home because my son is homeschooled, and has major anxiety when I'm too far away from him. For this reason, I started working freelance from home. I only do it part time because of all of my other responsibilities, but if you have the time, you could do this too.
What our community really needs are people that are educated in state and government laws, in concern to education and special needs. Many parents need someone that knows all of the ins and outs, to direct them in how to approach their child's schools to get the help they need. I can't tell you how many times a week I am messaged by a parent that needs advice on where to turn!
An Autism Advocate Consultant would be that person.
Find your niche. In this case, we're talking about Autism Advocate Consultants. Are you an autism parent? Being one yourself would be super beneficial in becoming an Autism Advocate Consultant. (Honestly, I would hire a parent that lived the spectrum life before I would hire someone that didn't.) I'm not saying you HAVE to be an autism parent, but being one would mean a lot to another ASD parent. Next, you need to dive into Wrights Law. Learn all of the ins and outs as it pertains to special children like ours. Then you would want to decide if you are going to be a state specific consultant, or work with parents from other states.
If you're going to be state specific, then you would focus on the state in which you reside. You would learn every law as it pertains to your home state, and special needs. If you're going to work with parents in other states, then start learning all of their laws too!
Immerse Yourself in FAPE, IEP's, 504's and more
What is FAPE? Well, if you're going to be an autism advocate consultant, you have to know what it is. FAPE is FREE APPROPRIATE PUBLIC EDUCATION. This is a governmental law that dictates that all children, regardless of ability MUST be provided with a free public education in a manner that suits their needs.
You'll need to learn the difference between an IEP (individualized education plan) and a 504 plan. Since we're talking about acronyms, it would be a good time to familiarize yourself with SLP, PT, OT, ABA, TSS, BSC, and more. All of these are services provided to children with disabilities. Either by schools, or private insurance.
Will You Be an in Person Consultant, or Cyber
You will also want to decide if you will be an in person consultant or a cyber one. Will you have an office where parents can meet you? Will you travel to families? Or will you consult via the internet? The latter is probably the most feesible, especially if you're going to consult on all fifty states.
Many parents need an autism advocate to attend IEP/504 meetings. With today's technology, they can take you with them via any tablet, laptop or phone. Skype into their meeting, and help them get their children's needs met. At the end of the day, you'll not only be helping to support your family, but you'll be helping a family in need, which can be so rewarding!