As children with CAS grow up and develop, their parents and caregivers are placed in many situations that require advocacy skills. This advocacy may have even started before the child was diagnosed with CAS. Perhaps you had to advocate with your child’s pediatrician in order to receive a referral for speech-language evaluation. Receiving insurance approval for speech therapy may be the point at which advocacy from a parent or caregiver is put into play. Insuring an appropriate Individual Family Support Plan (IFSP) through an Early Intervention program or Individual Education Plan (IEP) for a child with CAS at school often requires good advocacy skills from parents. Because parents are put in the position of becoming advocates, the tips below can help along the advocacy path:
- Be educated and informed about CAS and how it affects your child.
- Spend time thinking about your long term dream for your child.
- Understand the processes in the various systems, be it an insurance company or a school district. If you have a good understanding of how the system works, you will not waste time in unproductive activity.
- Also be familiar with laws, rules, and procedures for the system from which you are seeking help for your child.
- Network with other parents who have been through similar situations and those who have children with CAS.
- Document your interactions with individuals responsible for providing you with answers, decisions, or resolutions.
- Realize that an informed parent is a child’s best advocate.
Amid a busy, daily life it can seem overwhelming to consider that you must become an expert on your child’s needs and the systems designed to offer help. But over time you will never regret that time spent becoming your child’s best advocate. Involved, informed, and educated parents are more effective at providing for their child’s needs and insuring that others do as well.