Introduction and Module Overview

What is Advocacy? Why is necessary?

As parents, we hope that all of our children will have opportunities to learn, grow, and reach their own potential. We want our children to have the best that life can offer them, including a good education, employment, and opportunities to make friends and be involved in a variety of community activities.

Most parents are natural advocates for all of their children. We speak up for our children, and over time, help our children learn to speak for themselves. We help our children get the things that they may need or want from time to time. We may help our children find their first job or deal with difficult situations that they may encounter.

Raising a child with a disability often requires greater parental involvement to ensure that your child reaches his or her own potential and gets the things he or she may need. Your role as your child’s advocate may require additional effort, skills and time.

This module reviews some of the important aspects of advocacy for families who have a son or daughter with a disability. In essence, advocacy is the process of supporting and standing up for another person. Good advocacy on behalf of a child with a disability may be necessary for a number of reasons:

  • The person may have difficulty speaking for him or herself because of communication difficulties or other reasons.
  • The person may not be afforded the same opportunities in life because of other people’s attitudes, or because of physical or other barriers that may exist.
  • The person may have greater needs for support in order to enjoy life or to be involved in school or other learning opportunities, employment in the community, or other community activities.

How much and what kind of advocacy may be required will depend on each individual’s or family’s own circumstances and needs. Regardless, advocacy can be more effective when families learn the skills and steps that can help you get results. This module provides valuable information that will assist families with the advocacy process.

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