ROCH-groupSo you want to be an advocate but have no idea how to do it. You want to educate our nation’s decision makers about an issue that affects your life but don’t know what to say. The prospect of rolling into an elected official’s office and being expected to know the intricacies of what you’re talking about is freaking you out.

You only need to do two simple things to be an effective advocate: relax and be yourself.

Whether you are visiting a senator in Washington, D.C., a representative in your state capitol or a city or county official, you are there to get someone to take action that you believe will help you and others. The best way to do that is to tell your story. Make them walk — er, roll — in your shoes/wheels, help them understand why you need the action you are asking them to take. Don’t be surprised if policymakers simply don’t understand or have never considered the issues and realities you present to them. That’s why you are there.

Let’s say you are advocating for your representative to support recognizing complex rehab technology separately under Medicare. How do you get them to understand how important it is to you?

1. Share your personal story. How has getting the wrong (or right) equipment affected you?
• Simply