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Meet Eren Niederhoffer
Eren is entrenched in Georgia advocacy. He is a speaker and advocate who previously served on the State Advisory Panel, and the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities. He is a 2012 graduate of Marshall University and distinguished himself as the first student with autism to graduate from the institution’s Honor College. Currently, he works for an Atlanta firm as a data mining analyst.
Eren met Anne Ladd at a FOCUS conference and the idea for Eren to share his advice, experiences and resources about Autism and Self Advocacy was born. Here are a few brief thoughts about self advocacy and a few of his recommended resources. Follow his discussion topics by clicking on the links and document pages below:
What is most important to you as a self advocate? For you… Is it more about reaching personal goals or for helping others with similar challenges or….. ?
For me, being a self advocate involves:
Fighting the stereotypes of vaccines, religion, and other factors that people use as fear-tactics for claiming how autism happens in people:
Working with different organizations to develop legislature, programs, and systems to ensure the development and growth of high-functioning people on the autism spectrum to be able to lead successful lives that can be as close to independent and happy as possible.
Showing my accomplishments to audiences while hoping to inspire both a will and desire to seek more out of life while obtaining personal improvement in oneself, but also helping them find the methods to do so.
I have reached so many personal goals….but it’s reached the point where no matter what I do next, it’s only to be expected of me, each ladder that I continue to climb will be only natural.
It might seem to others that my giftedness and uniqueness comes so easily to me. They don’t know the stresses I put myself under because of my high expectations for myself. This challenges me nearly as much as when I was sorely lacking and held back by other’s low expectations of me when I was younger. I wanted so much out of life, but when I finally broke through barriers and achieved a heaven in adulthood compared to my childhood hell, I realized with guilt that I was one of few autistics who made it so far.
I want to take my gifts, and help other autistics realize that greatness isn’t necessarily something people are born with or just naturally come into, it’s something that can be realized through combining the will and the way….my goal is to make greatness and accomplishment a reality for people on the autism spectrum.
I want to help parents and parent mentors and educators achieve that goal, and make many people with autism great. And perhaps the neurotypicals will be able to learn from autistics who become great.
Eren’s Recommended Resources
Families don’t easily find an advocate on their own…they have to search online for resources…typically they may use social media like facebook, use search terms for their local areas on google, go ask their local autism speaks chapter, or ask their friends and family for ideas…which is why building relationships with different communities including churches is what self-advocates should definitely do in order to spread the word of different resources out there…
- Autism Society of Georgia Autism Speaks offer great assistance
- In greater Atlanta, there is also the Atlanta Autism Consortium..
- In gwinnett county, there is SPECTRUM
In Decatur, there is All About Developmental Disabilities AADD
- Look up DisabilityLink as well
- Jewish Family and Children’s Services of Atlanta JFCS has many resources
- Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities GCDD that also has resources lists
- Georgia Community Support Solutions aka GCSS
- Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta knows about resource lists check out the Jewish Abilities Alliance, their resource lists are available for more than just jewish people
- Type up Georgia Autism Plan, and it will take you to resources where you’ll find other material
- If you look up the website http://digitalcommons.georgiasouthern.edu/gapbs/ I have spoken there several times, and people can find resources there as well
- Consider the Frazer Center in Decatur