2 1/25/2010 DRAFTSkills for Effective Parent Advocacy A curriculum created by the National Family Advocacy Support and Training (FAST) Project1/25/2010 DRAFT
3 Agenda You will learn: What advocacy means How to improve your advocacy skillsHow you can make a difference!
4 Use Your Power“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” —Alice Walker
5 Advocates speak up for themselves or others to make things better. What is an Advocate?Advocates speak up for themselves or others to make things better.Have you ever?Met with your child’s teacher about any issue?Spoke at a local gathering about a project you care about?Told a cashier that an item was not ringing up correctly?
6 Why be an Advocate?Your experiences are valuable and can be used to improve thingsYou know when something is or isn’t workingYou have ideas how to make things betterYou have the only long-term connection to this child
7 Six SkillsTo be an effective advocate: 1. Understand your child’s disability 2. Know the key players 3. Know your rights and responsibilities 4. Become well organized 5. Use clear and effective communication 6. Know how to resolve disagreements
8 In Other Words: Who is the “star”? Who are the players? What are the rules?What is my plan of action?What do I say when it’s my turn?What do we do when we disagree?
9 Skill #1: Understand Your Child’s Disability Understanding helps you:Know which services are appropriate for your childHave high expectationsFind the right assistive technology and accommodationsUse resources to learn more!
10 Skill #2: Know the Key Players Who is the director or decision maker?Are staff people public, non-profit, or private employees?How can you find a person’s name?
11 Skill #3: Know Your Rights and Responsibilities Learn about them by:Reading Web sitesAsking how service is fundedAsking to see laws and policiesAsking questionsJoining a group11
12 Parents as Partners Parents and professionals can be partners and: Work togetherShare goalsHave individual rolesShare authorityHave different skillsSolve problems
13 Skill #4: Become Well Organized Keep recordsPut it in writingKeep a phone logHave a meeting notebook
14 Skill #5: Use Clear and Effective Communication Keep your eyes on the “prize” – the right service for your child!Listen and ask questions
15 Skill #5: Use Clear and Effective Communication Focus on needs of the childProblem solve together to find solutions
16 Skill # 5: Use Clear and Effective Communication Speak clearlyAvoid making people feel defensiveTurn negatives into positivesSummarize
17 Tips for Good Communication at a Meeting Focus on your goalShow respect and expect it from othersManage your emotionsAsk questionsRephrase for clarificationSay thanks
18 Tips for Written Communication Letters should:Be sent to person who can make a changeBe dated and signedFocus on one or two issuesBe no longer than one pageSet a deadline if a reply is requestedGive your contact informationRemember to keep a copy for yourself!
19 When You Disagree Disagree without being disagreeable Apologize if neededSeparate the person from the problemRealize NO ONE has all the answersMake sure your facts are correctChoose your battles
20 Skill #6: Know How to Resolve Disagreements Informal Processes:Talk to people first
21 Skill #6: Know How to Resolve Disagreements Formal Processes:MediationComplaintsAppeals
22 Skills Checklist What have you learned? Is there a skill you hope to improve?Do you need more resources?Do you need more support?
23 Summary“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.” —Helen Keller
24 888.248.0822 (toll-free nationwide) Contact InformationNational Family Advocacy Supports and Training (FAST) Project:fastfamilysupport.org(toll-free nationwide)The FAST Project is funded by the Administration on Developmental Disabilities (ADD) as a Project of National Significance.FAST is a project of:PACER.org | |