What is advocacy? Advocacy involves supporting the interests or cause of someone or a group of people. An advocate is a person who argues for, recommends, or supports a cause or policy.
SELF ADVOCACY: Self-advocacy refers to an individual’s ability to effectively communicate, convey, negotiate or assert his or her own interests, desires, needs, and rights (VanReusen et al., 1994). It also means understanding your strengths, needs, personal goals, knowing your legal rights and responsibilities, and effectively communicating these to others.
INDIVIDUAL ADVOCACY: Focusing effort on just one or two individuals if the person feels they have been treated unfairly or have been discriminated against.
SYSTEMS ADVOCACY: This type of advocacy focuses on changing policies, laws or rules that have an impact on a larger scale. Efforts can be targeted at a local, state, or national agency.
How can I learn skills to self-advocate for an issue? Skills can be acquired on an individual level or through a course on self-advocacy.
Where can I find resources to learn about how a bill becomes a law? The Missouri Governor’s Council on Disability website has a tutorial on the legislative process (http://disability.mo.gov/gcd/LEP.htm).
How does SIL advocate for an individual? An advocate will meet and discuss the issue with you. Depending on the circumstances, and your permission, the advocate will gather the information and work through the issue by making phone calls, visiting with the other party, write a letter to the other party, or assist you with filing a complaint.