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Top : Off The Cuff : You Are Your Child's Advocate 

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You Are Your Child's Advocate

Advocacy is a vital task. Once you have mastered the strategies of advocacy, you will be able to deal with all of the problems encountered by your special child. Advocacy means representing your child with vigor and commitment, whether with medical personnel, teachers, employers, friends, or relatives. This will be your most important task as a parent, as it will have an effect on all aspects of your child’s life. Advocacy can ensure proper medical diagnosis, treatment, integration, accessibility, and independence. You must be prepared to push organizations on a regular basis to ensure a reasonable and adequate accommodation of your child’s needs.

What You Need to Become a Successful Advocate

There are many ways to advocate on your child’s behalf. The following keys, combined with a large dose of commitment, can lead to success.


Begin by obtaining all available information which includes: a details of what your child needs, how best to meet these needs, what personnel and services are required and if they are available, costs and financial resources available and your legal rights. Gather this information from medical, support groups, libraries, relevant specialized institutions, and experienced professionals.


While the vast majority of health care professionals are qualified, dedicated and caring, your child will often be one patient among many, all of whom have numerous needs that must be fulfilled. It cannot be stressed enough that if you make it you job to always put your child first, you will find the rewards of successful advocacy to be worthwhile for your child and the entire family.


With time you will learn techniques that will help you advocate for your child. Keeping an open mind, choosing opportunities with care, asking questions, and being ready to change if something isn’t working will go a long way to getting the results you need for your child.

Problem Solving

Learn non-confrontational ways to deal with problems as they confront you. Write letters and make phone calls, use allies such as support groups, demonstrate your genuine interest in finding a solution. Keep constant notes on your child’s medical history, education and recreation to help show others what your child has accomplished in the past.

Advocacy is a strategy you can use to ensure that your child has the most appropriate opportunities in all phases of his or her life. By using advocacy you will become informed about your child’s disability and you will learn how to select the personnel who will be most beneficial to your child. Advocacy will provide you with organizational skills, a clear focus on what to attain and the confidence that you will achieve the best possible care and treatment for you child. Remember, “Yes You Can!”

Keywords: parenting, advocacy, disability, health, education, medical

About the Author
Mark Nagler, Ph.D., Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Dr. Mark Nagler is an expert author and motivational speaker for people with disabilities. He was born with Cerebral Palsy and has triumphed over his disability by becoming an expert in the Disability Studies field. He has a B.A. from the University of British Columbia, a Masters degree from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. from Stirling University in Britain. Dr. Nagler approaches disability from a different perspective than that offered by most experts and, although he has never been able to write, he was able to achieve his impressive array of degrees. He taught at Hamilton's McMaster University and the University of Waterloo and he has lectured across Canada, the United States, Britain, Sweden, Hungary and Israel. He has used his cerebral palsy to empower students, parents and anyone else with whom he comes in contact. His book, “Yes You Can”, illustrates his own experience in over coming disability and his other work, “What's Stopping You?”, conveys strategies that adults can successfully use in living with disability.

Submitted by: Mark Nagler, Ph.D *  

15-Feb-2004         Hits: 346     Rating: 0     Votes: 0      Rate It

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