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Advocacy Strategies

Published
October 20, 2021
Topics
Advocacy, Family Support

In order to get what you need, it is important to know what to say, how to say it, when to say it, and who to say it to, as well as what to do when you hit barriers. Here are some strategies that might help make the process more successful:

  • Learn about the rules, regulations, entitlements, and laws that support your desired goals and outcomes.
  • School staff and providers will respond more rapidly to someone who presents themselves as an advocate. You are acting as a “lawyer” even though you are not. Use the word “advocate” when introducing yourself.
  • When you have achieved any desired outcome, be sure to thank them in writing, preferably by email.  
  • Be persistent. Call, call again, email, fax, write, follow-up with a call. The squeaky wheel gets the grease and the services. However, allow time to respond. Follow ups may occur anywhere after a couple of days to a week. 
  • Get names. People miraculously develop better manners if they think you can track them down.
  • Everyone has a boss. If you are not getting satisfactory results from someone, find out who their supervisor is; go all the way to the board of directors or president, if necessary.
  • There is never any excuse for rude treatment. Let the rude person know you are aware of your basic rights. If they persist, use the previous two steps.
  • Paper trails are critical. Document all names, incidents, what you were told, when, what you did, and what they did.  Having one notebook for school related matters is helpful. It makes it easier to find notes and names.’
  • Refrain from calling in favors or saying “please do me a favor.” Use all possible resources and understand that it is your right to ask questions, and express concerns.
  • Waiting lists are a reality. Put your child on the list. You’ve got to be in it to win it!
  • The early bird catches the resource. There is no such thing as too early, too soon, or jumping the gun.
  • Never put all of your eggs in one basket. Brainstorm many options and back up possibilities.
  • If all else fails, use social media and other media platforms like radio, television, newspapers, and blogs.
  • Put the people who represent you to work. Contact your elected officials: City Council, Borough Presidents, Public Advocates, State Assembly, State Senators, Governor, Congress, Senators; even the President!