Finally, it is important not just to tackle the now, but also to look to the future: not just how to maximize your existing rights, but also to protect and even expand them!
- There are always ongoing battles to be fought in the arena of advocacy. For example, the Parkinson’s Action Network has done a yeoman’s job as the “the unified voice of the Parkinson’s community advocating for a cure.”
- In addition to promoting research, are there other public policy issues of interest to you? Among those discussed above, what about the passage of the original ADA, its important 2008 amendment, or revisions to the Social Security return to work rules? What about health care reform, one of the biggest public policy issues on the national agenda, with potentially significant implications for medical and long term care for persons with illness? What about Medicare?
- Do you know whether and how various Parkinson’s associations have addressed issues that concern you, or whether or how they prioritize them in the future?
- You might be surprised to learn that you can do a lot to help yourself in the advocacy arena, by insisting that those associations keep abreast of the relevant issues and opportunities, push hard for changes to protect and promote your legal rights, and help to arm you with ammunition to use in calling upon your elective representatives to take action!
If advocacy about social and legal issues is of interest to you, visit the American Association of People with Disabilities. The largest national nonprofit cross-disability membership organization in the United States, AAPD is an excellent source of information about advocacy initiatives for PWDs, and has been at the forefront of such efforts for many years.
Content for this section provided by Mark Rubin, J.D.