When I became a parent to a child with special needs, I also became an accidental advocate.
I don't mind the role at all, because I think it's making a small difference one conversation at a time.
Being Eve's parent has opened my eyes about how little understanding there is about the daily challenges of those individuals with different abilities.
I also didn't comprehend what daily life as a caregiver can be like until I became one.
The first time I knew I was an advocate was when a child asked me about my daughter's different abilities.
I had to think quickly about how to explain her special needs while also being sensitive to her privacy.
I mean, we don't usually disclose all our medical diagnoses to people, right?
I found a way to explain the wheelchair and why she didn't talk but I also made sure I thought about how to explain even better next time.
As an advocate, I wanted to become better in using the proper terms and modeling compassion.
I have also become an advocate for my daughter as we make an educational plan at school or a treatment plan at the doctor.
I have been met with respect in both settings, but I know that's not always the case.
Over time, I have learned how to be Eve's voice and how to convey the things that we need or the things that are not working currently.
It's not easy to let someone know that what we are doing isn't working, but it's something that my daughter needs me to do for her.
I put aside my tendencies to want to please people and focus on her needs and her world.
I am learning from other moms who do this role well and who share about their experiences.
And it encourages me when we seek answers together and get to a better place as a family.
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