You were just told that you or a loved one has a health condition or a disability – now what do you do?
Once you get over the denial phase of the diagnosis, only then can you start advocating. Only then can you begin to look for the best healthcare providers, to provide the best quality of care. So how do you become an empowered advocate?
- Get back to basics. What exactly is an advocate? Learn the one common denominator that defines all advocates- you may be one without even knowing it!
- What’s step one to becoming an empowered advocate? Education. Marla suggests attending support groups, conferences, and community events to learn from others in a similar struggle.
- Marla’s #1 Advice: Don’t compare your child’s progress to others. Learn why comparing is not helpful in any situation
Be sure to check out the resources Marla suggests:
Meet The Host
As an author, speaker, blogger and health advocate, Marla lives and expresses her passion for Down Syndrome every day. Marla sees firsthand the challenges of Down Syndrome, not only as a Parent Advocate but also as a larger societal issue. Dedicated to spreading awareness for inclusion and understanding for individuals with Down syndrome, she is active on her blog “Musings From A Special Needs Mom” and plays a proactive role in her community and in the classroom.
Marla has been involved in non-profit work for over 30 years. From volunteering for the Special Olympics, to holding a Board position at the Michiana Down Syndrome Family Support & Advocacy Group, to Co-Chairing Freedom Park an all-inclusive playground, volunteering for both the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress and Lumind RDS. She is also currently President of the Hopkinton, Massachusetts SEPAC (Special Education Parents Advisory Council) working closely with the School District.
Empowered by her family, she feels blessed to be the mother of an amazingly determined 11-year-old boy, Jacob, diagnosed with Down Syndrome, the stepmother to her 22-year-old stepdaughter Amanda, and married to her best friend Paul. Marla can be reached at her blog www.musingsfromaspecialneedsmom.com.
Kristen Long is the Patient Leader Network Coordinator at WEGO Health. Her own health experiences have inspired her to empower other patients and encourage the power of patient advocacy. Follow Kristen on Twitter and Facebook and check out her personal blog, Serving of Support.