Are you a parent that wants to advocate for change?

As a parent you have much to offer, teach, and share. You bring unique experiences, perspectives, and expertise. Everyone benefits when families and providers work together to improve healthcare, education, and community life for children with special health and/or developmental needs.  We hope to give you general information and guidance on what’s involved in becoming an effective family advisor, no matter what setting you choose.


A family advisor is a parent or other family member who draws on personal experiences to influence decisions and help shape programs and policies. This may include a wide variety of activities such as: being a member of an advisory council, board, focus group, community coalition or becoming a reviewer of written or web based materials, or being a program evaluator, teacher, trainer, speaker and/or mentor to other families.

By getting involved as a family advisor, you will:

  • Reflect and share personal experiences, observations and family perspectives.

  • Pose thoughtful questions and give feedback.

  • Suggest ideas and propose solutions.

  • Educate others.

General Guidance For Becoming A Family Advisor

#padding-6 { height:20px; }#text-block-7 { margin-bottom:0px; text-align:left; } Find opportunities to become a family advisor Interested in becoming a family advisor? It makes sense to start looking for opportunities by contacting people and organizations that you know to learn about what opportunities might exist: Ask other parents about ways to get involved. Let your child’s [...]
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Decide If An Opportunity Is The Right Fit For You

#padding-9 { height:20px; }#text-block-10 { margin-bottom:0px; text-align:left; } Becoming a successful family advisor is a role that most people grow into as a result of many factors, including: Self-awareness Listening and communication skills Commitment to collaboration Practice When looking for or accepting family advisor roles, it is important to ask questions and get the right information so you [...]
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Understand What Is Being Expected

#padding-12 { height:20px; }#text-block-13 { margin-bottom:0px; text-align:left; } Understand what is being expected: Review the Basic Information Checklist for the Family Advisor. Questions to consider include: What is the purpose and format of the meeting or event? When and where will it be and how long is the commitment? Who will be there and what [...]
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Consider How Much You Want To Share About Your Child And Family

#padding-15 { height:20px; }#text-block-16 { margin-bottom:0px; text-align:left; } Consider how much to share about your child and family How much should you share about your child and family if you become a family advisor?  Talking about your personal experiences can be a very effective way to illustrate a point and influence people’s thinking.   Self-disclosure [...]
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Tips To Prepare You For A Specific Family Advisor Event

#padding-18 { height:20px; }#text-block-19 { margin-bottom:0px; text-align:left; } Educate others by telling your story Stories are an effective way to teach and influence people’s thinking. Stories are personal and their images stick with listeners in ways that abstract ideas and data don’t. Whether you are invited to tell your story as an informal talk to [...]
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Participating In A Meeting

#padding-21 { height:20px; }#text-block-22 { margin-bottom:0px; text-align:left; } Begin slowly and thoughtfully:  Observe others and listen well. Ask thoughtful questions. Be mindful of how you communicate as this will go a long way to insuring your input is well received and on target. Recognize there are different ways to give constructive input:  Support and affirm [...]
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