Meet Veronica Guzman: Comadre Inspiradora for Autism Awareness Month

For mental health and family engagement expert Veronica Guzman, creating systems of support for families dealing with autism and additional special needs isn’t just a job — it’s a passion with purpose. Growing up, Veronica’s brother Francisco struggled in school due to undiagnosed learning disabilities and mental health issues. Watching her brother suffer as their school system failed him was tough. Watching her mother blame herself, was even tougher. Unfortunately, Francisco eventually took his own life. But his legacy lives on through his sister, and her advocacy work. Says Guzman: 

“I think we have to do a lot better as a community to advocate for our own, and educate what autism can look like. The other thing we as a community have to be better about, is pushing for services. Often parents just walk away or are ashamed. They’re scared. Intimidated. Sometimes with these programs someone will say, ‘Well, you don’t understand enough’ or ‘Hey, you’re undocumented.’ Things that are used to scare Spanish speaking parents, or imply this service is not for them. I personally want to make calls to all those providers, so they understand and can educate themselves on how to serve this population.”

This month with Veronica’s help through her advocacy group, Yo Soy Tu Voz, La Comadre is proud to publish personal essays written by parents raising children with autism and additional special needs. Their stories are poignant, moving, and most of all, important. We hope you will share their voices to raise not only awareness, but also, acceptance.

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We are Moms, Tias, Ninas and Play-Tias who love children in our lives and we want to help every child succeed in school. Navigating schools and education—from preschool to college—is hard. We want to help each other with this. We are all in this together with you. We want to be a resource for you and for all of the children you love. Whether you need some info or you have info to share, you know where to go…LA Comadre.

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