“Creating the Connections” :: How To Be Your Own Advocate
HOW DO WE DO THIS?
- call, call, call.
- call back, call back, call back.
- ask questions, ask questions, ask questions.
- network with school staff, case workers, parents, and friends.
- be involved in your plan.
- thank the person you requested information from; send thank you note.
- keep a record of your contacts.
- write letters to individuals/organizations you are requesting information from – be specific in your letter as to what service/information you are seeking. Include name/address/phone number where you can be reached. Thank them for being helpful. Also, include a short paragraph in the beginning of letter telling a little about yourself.
- meet with school counselors to ask questions/get ideas/contacts. Be polite, specific, clear as to what kind of work you want to do.
BE YOUR OWN ADVOCATE
- speaking up for yourself – being polite, specific, understandable and reasonable.
STEPS TO DEVELOPING ADVOCACY SKILLS
- define what you need as opposed to what you want.
- know what your rights are.
- know your responsibilities.
- keep appointments.
- follow through.
- give information honestly
- know the “system” and the procedures
- keep good records.
- ask questions.
- phone calls – follow up.
- meetings – follow up with action plan.
- keep a job log.
- know the key rules and key people.
OTHER TIPS FOR A GOOD SELF-ADVOCATE
- be an active participant in the decision making process.
- set realistic goals for what you need to achieve.
- gather information you need about other solutions and alternatives.
- Listen and speak to the issue.
- be clear about emotional aspects since the way a person feels can affect how their decisions are made.
- have a realistic idea of who you are and what your strengths/weaknesses are.