Job Story: Amy is a Policy Specialist
Amy Litzinger works as a policy specialist For Texas Parent to Parent and Easterseals Central Texas. She has had her job at Texas Parent to Parent since 2011, and started, beginning as an intern, for Easterseals at the beginning of the last legislative session in January 2017.
Between the two jobs, she works about 15+ hours a week, and her hours vary depending on the time of year, and whether or not the legislature is in session. An attendant comes with her to work, driving and helping with certain tasks. This person's job is paid for through the CLASS Medicaid Waiver Program. Amy uses the Consumer Directed Services option to find her attendants. The same people help her at work as in during non-work hours. During work, Amy receives Supported Employment Services from her attendants.
Amy got her job by networking, volunteering in the same type of work for a long time, being willing to learn and change, and showing that she doesn't give up easily. In order to do her job well, she needed to learn office skills, how to advocate at the legislature, write testimony, talk to other advocates and find out what they need and want, and how to gather ideas and people using social media.
At her job, she gets to help other self advocates and families, and tell legislators what they need to hear about what people need and want to change. She writes papers, makes phone calls, and creates spreadsheets. She says she's not in the office a lot, because she goes to meetings to see what's new for people with disabilities. When she's not at meetings, Tuesdays are usually office days. Sometimes she's at the Capitol for an office meeting with staff, or in a hearing for testifying to the legislature and committees. Sometimes there are conference calls, speaking at conferences, or a response to something that happens. Sometimes lawmakers and staff ask for advice on issues. She also writes newsletter articles for other advocates to read. Sometimes self advocates have a problem they need help solving, or sometimes they want to advocate for a new law.
Hearing days are usually very long, but there's a nice cafeteria to have meetings to talk about next steps with other advocates, including people from other organizations. It's nice to see people many who are working towards the same goal, especially on Thursdays, when there's ice cream. Most people are friendly and want to hear what she has to say. When she works from home, she has her dog as an office mate.
Amy says “I like that my job changes every day. And that I get to help people and make changes happen. I like days when something happens the way I expected it to. I also like days where I didn't expect something to turn out well, and it did anyway”.
If you have questions for Amy, please email Amy.Litzinger@TxP2P.org