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Transformative Advocacy

Transformative Advocacy
Sometimes, a call to Achieva's advocacy staff results in sharing information or resources with a family member or individual with a disability. Other times, an advocate may provide options for a referral to a special education attorney or psychologist. Most often, an advocate will provide technical assistance, such as walking a parent through what will occur during their child's first Individual Education Program (IEP) meeting or during a meeting at a county office to establish eligibility for services through the Office of Developmental Programs. 
 
A call to one of Achieva's advocates often leads to a relationship between the person supported and an advocate lasting for months or even years. One such call came in July of 2022 from a young man in crisis. He had started having seizures in 2016, which drastically altered the course of his life. He was unable to work, drive, or live on his own due to the severity of his seizures. His family couldn't care for and support him, and in 2017, he was forced to move into a personal care home. Over the years, his relationship with his family slowly deteriorated, and he was often left to fend for himself. 
 
Once he met Erin, an Achieva advocate, in July 2022, his life began to change. At that time, his goals were to qualify for a Medicaid waiver and get the home and community-based services he needed to start driving again, and hopefully, live on his own one day. 
 
Most recently, with the support of Erin, person-centered planning, and his tenacity, his plans changed, and he exceeded his original goals. Today, he works a full-time job at Walmart as a cashier, was recently released from his neurologist to drive, and just looked at his dream car, a Dodge Charger. He is getting an apartment, but his ultimate goal is purchasing a manufactured home. 
 
Through the dedicated support of Achieva's advocates, people with disabilities, like the young man in crisis, have found assistance and true empowerment. From navigating complex systems to realizing ambitious dreams, the journey epitomizes the profound impact of advocacy.