How to be an Advocate for your Child

Cindy Stevens Parent Advocate and Erica Dennison Host

The journey of raising a child with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) may require unwavering support from parent advocates who champion their children’s rights, voices, inclusion, and overall needs. For parents of children, both adults and youth, navigating this advocacy path often becomes a lifelong commitment.

In this THINK+change podcast episode, join us as we sit down with Cindy, a seasoned parent advocate in Colorado. With over 30 years of experience advocating for her son, Cindy shares invaluable insights for fellow parents on their own advocacy journeys.

Discussed in this episode

  • Sustaining motivation and resilience in the face of challenges;
  • Envisioning what success may look like for you and your child;
  • Amplifying your child’s voice in a world that sometimes fails to recognize their needs;
  • Navigating the different phases of your child’s life and service needs;
  • Advocating effectively in policy and government spaces; and
  • Generating ideas for breaking down barriers and tackling isolation in the IDD community.

Why you should tune in

Whether you’re just beginning your advocacy journey or seeking fresh inspiration, this episode reminds parents everywhere of their profound ability to create positive change for their children and communities. Tune in and discover the transformative power of parent advocacy in championing the rights and dignity of individuals with IDD.

Learn more by watching a vodcast (video) or listening to podcast (audio) episode 79.

How to be an Advocate for your Child, featuring Cindy Stevens, Parent Advocate


  • 2:28 – Being inspired and motivated to advocate for your child
  • 3:55 – The challenges of advocacy
  • 5:12 – Using your voice in government: local, state, and beyond
  • 7:10 – Facing transitions – advocating for youth vs. adults with IDD
  • 11:25 – Legal Rights and Protections to help your child
  • 14:40 – Getting support from organizations
  • 20:25 – How IDD advocacy has changed over the years
  • 23:45 – How an the general population get involved in advocacy
  • 24:40 – Find out what systems change advocacy can look like
  • 26:45 – Success in parent advocacy
  • 30:30 – The future of parent advocacy
  • 32:05 – Tips for sustaining or expanding your own advocacy
Resources mentioned in this episode: IN! Inclusive Higher Education, Employment First, The Arc chapters in Colorado, Parent to Parent, PAD-CO – Parents of Adults with Disabilities, P&A Agencies – Protection and Advocacy organizations
Listen to “TRAININGS E79: How to be an Advocate for your Child” on Spreaker.

This work is made possible through support from Colorado Access, Dungarvin, arc Thrift StoresDevelopmental Pathways, and The Arc of Aurora.

Watch our past podcast/vodcast series!