Knowledge is the Power!
By Jaya Pandey, Parent Advocate
With Autism, things are not routine or traditional in our life. As I always say “everything is custom made,” so we keep learning and adjusting and trying. After many years with so many workshops, seminars, doctors’ visits and books and everything in between, we equip ourselves with knowledge but there is so much more to learn. Sometimes it is frustrating but at the same time it inspires us to do more.
At one of these seminars, a speaker mentioned the program the Federation runs for advocates: The Parent Consultant Training Institute (PCTI). Lucky for me the class was about to start in two weeks. It is a weekly course of 9 classes, 6 hours each. I decided it was time to get into the advocacy world, not as a professional per se, but to know more. I started the class 4 weeks ago, a drive of 40 miles from home. It’s been a journey full of heartaches, inspiration, hope, worries, motivation, togetherness, compassion and passion.
Thirty-five of us – parents, teachers, professional and attorneys – are all in this together with a shared passion to do more for our kids, students and clients. We want to educate people around us. I heard the Federation was having a tough time reaching out to parents in the Asian community because of culture and attitude. They didn’t have Indian volunteers to talk to parents. I offered to try to help them in any way I can, because I know how it is to be a mom, especially an INDIAN mom.
I know how easy and comforting denial can be. How lonely and dark the path can be when you have no support and information around and shutting down all the doors seems the best option. I know how scary it is to think of the future but at the same time I know how knowledge can empower any mother. A well-informed mother is what we need for our children.
The fantastic coordinator of the PCTI, Linda Surprenant, pictured above with me, was inspired by her daughter to learn more, connect, support and unite people and now educating others is her mission. I so wish to follow in her footsteps.
For more information about the Parent Consultant Training Institute at the Federation visit fcsn.org/PTIC