Parents often find they have a strong desire to improve the lives of their children and others with disabilities. Indeed, parents and their motivations are the reasons for most of the changes in the last century. By learning the tools of leadership, parents learn that their voices are influential and that they can produce positive change within their communities.
Having found your cause, it is important to develop the skills to lead and influence others.
Some of these skills are:
1) Lead By Example. Always use person-first language and be respectful of the diversities in disabilities.
2) Have a Passion. Believe in what you are doing.
3) Communicate Effectively. Whether in writing or when making public testimony, be sure you make your points clearly and effectively.
4) Do your Research. Make sure you are prepared and know what you are talking about.
5) Be a Good Listener. When you listen more, you can respond more effectively and get to the heart of things much faster.
6) Know Your Audience. Make sure you know where they are coming from and why they may or may not support your position.
7) Be a Team Player. Look for ways to support and acknowledge the efforts of other leaders in your cause
Making Your Case in English (and Spanish) is a three-hour self-study course designed to help people advocate for positive changes in public policies that impact people with developmental disabilities and their families.
Partners in Policy Making/Georgia is a comprehensive educational program that provides self-advocates and parents the tools to become better advocates for their families and for all individuals with disabilities in Georgia.
The Parent Leadership Support Project (PLSP) is a training program to assist Georgia parents of children with disabilities to master the information and skills needed to advocate for their own children, as well as for other children with disabilities.