June 28, 2021

Advocacy 101 with Jena Wells

Tune In: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcast


“Advocate” is a title all of us bear, but it may be one that brings hesitancy, overwhelm, and intimidation.  Most parents and caregivers in the disability community did not set out to become advocates.  Rather, our families and their special circumstances lead us to a need to advocate.  So, here we are – with this new title as “advocate” and zero training.  Today’s podcast guest is Jena Wells, mom to four little boys, one of whom has Down syndrome.  The birth of Jena’s son, Ashton, lead her to explore more formal training in advocacy, and before she knew it, she was working in the non-profit world helping families, self-advocates, and organizations that benefits individuals with disabilities.  There’s so much we can all learn from Jena’s advocacy journey.  

Learn more here:  Global Down Syndrome Foundation | Research, Care, Education, Advocacy


Meet my guest: Jena Wells, Disability Family Services Professional

Jena Wells is a dynamic mentor and subject matter expert to numerous families within the disability community. She is passionate about creating inclusive opportunities, access, and a sense of belonging for those she has served. She has worked in the non-profit sector throughout her career (for over 20 years) empowering families to establish their own personal path.

Jena received a BS in Family Community Services with a specialty in health-related topics. She is a leader that cherishes relationship building and has strong emotional intelligence. Jena uses her skills to manage programs, advocate, collaborate, and educate others. She aspires to learn and grow through her work each day while delivering results.

Inspiration for Jena comes from her family and friends. Jena and her husband were blessed with a son who happens to have Down syndrome. He has connected them to a remarkable disability community to which they are deeply involved. She enjoys spending time on nature walks and playing activities with her family while soaking up the rays.

Throughout Jena’s life, she has been a big picture thinker with the ability to manage high ambiguity. She enjoys planning, creating, and executing a vision through to fruition. Her favorite quote and the one she tries to live by is: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.” John Quincy Adams


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Part 03: The 6W's of the Ashley Barlow Co - The Who

Calling all parents, teachers, school staff, self advocates, disability organization staff, doctors, therapists, coaches, tutors, grandparents, babysitters, community organization staff, volunteers, … Calling anyone that supports a student with a disability!!!

Part 04: THE 6W'S OF THE ASHLEY BARLOW CO - THE Where

Parents of a child in special education are exhausted. Teachers and school staff are about the busiest professionals in the workforce. Nobody has time for in-person trainings, and thanks to COVID-19, few can safely access in-person trainings right now! 

Part 05: The 6W's of the Ashley Barlow Co - The how

How’s this all going to work? This is the great part. You don’t need to worry about how the content will arrive, especially if you join my mailing list (link in bio), like me on Facebook and Youtube, follow me on Instagram, and subscribe to the podcast. 

Ready, Set, Go!  I’m Enrolling! ⟶

Now Enrolling

The Special Education & Advocacy Lab is an on-line, on-demand training course for parents of children on special education that are interested in improving their advocacy at the IEP table. Each of the ten modules is a little under an hour, so in about 6.5 hours – less than one work day – or a few weeks’ time we go start to finish in Special Education Advocacy. We cover Parent Rights and the nuts and bolts of the IEP Meeting, the basics of the law, a deep dive into the IEP document and goal writing, progress monitoring and specially designed instruction, due process, document organization, communication strategies and so much more! Each module is jam packed with content and collaborative, reasonable, objective advocacy tips.

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for Parents of Childr en on IEPs