The most effective means to providing an individual the opportunity to achieve a full life is to maximize both public and private resources.
Service providers continue to struggle with limited budget constraints and high staff turnover. Families tired of receiving minimal supports and services often combine their resources to supplement those needed. Although every individual has their own personality and needs, many dreams have been realized by creatively pooling resources between many families.
The best way to identify and obtain services is to go directly to the gateway to those services while gathering information from other families or advocacy agencies involved in that specific service area.
Here are a few pointers when trying to advocate for services for your family member.
- When you apply for the service, the gatekeeper staff - the people who control access to the benefits you seek- should give you an overview of the entire process. If he or she does not, be sure to ask. You still may not get all of your questions answered.
- The process may look intimidating. This is why it is so important to connect with a parent or advocacy group for support. Try to get objective input, even if you have to pay for the information. Even if the group you contact does not provide specific services, the members and/or staff can advise you of the options in your region.
- Other parents can share what they have done to obtain services. Learning about advocacy activities can ultimately advance service availability.