Advocates are people who speak up for themselves or other individuals. This is a demanding job and can make a huge impact on the lives of others. They often work in fields such as health care, education, retail, law and nursing homes. They may also help those who are struggling with mental health issues. In this article, we’ll explore three things you could do if you were asked to become an advocate.
Obtain the appropriate training to prepare you for this role. Most advocates receive 1-3 months of on-the-job training. This is an important step in becoming an advocate because it allows you to see firsthand how the system works and how people interact with each other. You will learn about the various rules and regulations for different systems that you might encounter in your advocacy career, such as determining if schools are meeting disability standards or how to handle discrimination claims.
Attend IEP Team meetings for other families with children with disabilities to practice your skills and build up your experience. This will allow you to be more objective when working with parents. You will also be more aware of the “buttons” that many school personnel push and how to deal with them.
Research and write policies at a local, state or national level to affect change on specific issues. Examples include HIV treatment, funding, women-centered healthcare, or criminalization. This type of advocacy typically involves contacting or visiting government officials to present information, opinions and requests for support.