Navigating the Journey: Moving into Parent Advocacy for Adult Children with Disabilities

As I sit down to write this post, I can’t help but feel a surge of emotions coursing through me. The journey of advocating for my child with disabilities has been filled with highs and lows, triumphs and challenges, but above all, it has been a journey of unwavering love and determination.

When my child was born, I never imagined the path that lay ahead of us. Like any parent, I dreamed of a future filled with endless possibilities and opportunities for my child. However, as she grew older, it became apparent that her journey would be different from what I had envisioned. Diagnosed with a disability at a young age, my child faced obstacles that seemed insurmountable at times.

She is now starting her transition into adulthood, and a whole new set of challenges are presenting themselves. Navigating the complex web of services, programs, and support systems is becoming our new reality. It is now more than ever that I am truly embracing the role of advocate, fighting tirelessly to ensure that my child has access to the resources she needs to thrive long past my time.

One of the biggest challenges we face is the lack of understanding and awareness surrounding disabilities in adulthood. Many people seem to believe that once a child reaches a certain age, the need for support diminishes. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, the need for advocacy and support often intensifies as individuals with disabilities transition into adulthood and strive for independence.

Advocating for my child with disabilities has required me to become their voice in a world that often overlooks their needs. It has meant challenging outdated stereotypes and advocating for inclusive policies and practices. It has meant tirelessly advocating for accessibility in all aspects of life, from education and employment to housing and transportation.

But amidst the challenges, there have been moments of incredible joy and triumph. Watching my child achieve milestones that once seemed out of reach fills my heart with pride. I’m looking forward to her securing a job she loves, pursuing additional education, or simply finding a sense of belonging in her community, as each achievement is a testament to her resilience and determination.

As a parent advocate, I’ve learned that our journey is not just about advocating for our own children but also about advocating for systemic change. It’s about challenging societal norms and advocating for a world where individuals with disabilities are valued and included. It’s about creating a future where every person, regardless of ability, has the opportunity to reach their full potential.

To my fellow parent advocates, I want to say this: your tireless efforts do not go unnoticed. You are champions for your children, warriors in a battle for equality and inclusion. And though the road may be long and challenging, know that you are not alone. Together, we can create a world where every individual with disabilities is empowered to thrive.

 

Written by K.B., Mom of an amazing 15 year old who happens to have Cerebral Palsy, Apraxia of Speech, and Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

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