Advocacy can mean many things to many people. Self-advocacy in general terms means communicating in some way for one’s own rights, needs, and desires. Individual advocates help advocate for a particular person or group. When a parent, sibling, relation advocates it is considered informal advocacy. When agencies pay a particular person to advocate for an individual or group it is a formal advocacy. We also have advocates that help in areas such as legal, medical, and education.
How does Advocacy help the person with a disability or family support system?
Advocacy is a great tool to have in anyone’s toolbox. Advocacy can help you or a particular group’s voice be heard. It provides you with information to make an informed decision. Advocacy can help to get new services or improve already existing services.
How may a parent/caregiver locate Advocacy support?
Parents/caregivers can directly advocate on their child’s behalf. Also agencies such as 211, Coalition for Independent Living, Legal Aid etc. have resources regarding advocacy programs.
Recommended websites, YouTube videos, books on Disability Advocacy:
Are there any questions or observations you would recommend parents to investigate before advocating?
Make sure what you are advocating for is in the best interest of the child. Try to stay calm when advocating and keep to the facts.
Written by: Jennifer Harris, Special Needs Advocate for 211 Palm Beach/Treasure Coast.