Fundamentals of Advocacy

Fundamentals of Advocacy

As a parent of a child with a disability, you may come into a situation where you need to advocate on behalf of your child. To better understand what advocacy is and how to become an effective advocate for your child, review the helpful tips and resources listed on this page.

Understanding Advocacy

Before becoming an advocate for your child it is important to understand what the term advocacy means. Advocacy is defined as the act of earnestly pleading and supporting something or someone, and being an active participant in this support.

Being an advocate for your child means that you will have to find your voice and speak up for what you believe is the best for your child. Not only does advocacy involve finding your voice, it involves becoming an active listener. In order to solve problems and maintain good relationships with others, it is important to listen to those around you so that you can learn how to work more effectively with them.

There are four types of advocacy individuals can engage in. These are:

  1. Self-Advocacy: when an individual will speak on his/her behalf.
  2. Natural Advocacy: when a parent or caregiver will speak on behalf of their child.
  3. Individual Advocacy: when a parent or caregiver asks a friend, other family member, or a trained advocate to assist and speak on their child’s behalf.
  4. System Advocacy: when an individual or group speaks on behalf of the people that they represent.