Breaking through barriers for workers
who have children with special needs

Effective Advocacy

Characteristics of a Successful Advocate


Attitude: Positive, persistent, prepared – think out strategies before the meeting.

Flexible: Know WHAT you really need – be flexible on HOW it is done.

Fair: You are in this for the long haul – listen as well as talk! Look for “win-win” solutions.

Organized: Do your homework, know what you after, “build a case”, keep good files and logs. We track our investments – your child is your most important one.

Informed: Know what you are talking about, your rights and the legislation – learn the systems protocols and jargon.

Published: Send letters, “thank you” notes, meeting notes, reflective letters.

Problem – solver: We are all responsible for solving the problem – not just the school.


Advocating for Success

  1. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
  2. Know what your are asking for…. What is essential, what is negotiable and what is doable
  3. Be evidential, not emotional
  4. Be the adult, the professional
  5. Know when to say “call it a day….”
  6. Rehearse away your emotions…. Know your limits
  7. Learn to use your “team” ….develop a strategy, have cues and roles
  8. Anticipate (the Heinz Rule) and counter
  9. Do a dry run….”role play”
  10. Control the environment – location, seating, materials, documentation, “feel/tone”


The 4P Rule: “Prior Planning Prevents Problems”


Positive persistence is more important that popularity.


Permission to reprint granted by Lindsay Moir, Comhnadh Consulting