Advocacy services by acting either on behalf of a person with a disability or encouraging the individual to act on his/her own behalf to deal with administrative procedures of various agencies, in settling disputes, securing various entitlements and/or securing financial assistance, and safeguarding legal and human rights for all people with disabilities.
Advocacy in all forms seeks to ensure people have their voices heard on issues that are important to them. This is especially important to people with disabilities who are often left out of the discussions that affect their lives. Advocacy helps individuals defend and safeguard rights, have views and wishes genuinely considered when decisions are being made about their lives.
Here at Roads To Independence, we support individuals with disabilities ensuring the rights and interests are protected through peer support and advocacy. We encourage individuals with disabilities to speak up for themselves, as an expert in their own life, and to take action with or without support when you can or want to. We make sure that anyone who needs support on learning to advocate or assistance in advocating receives it through one on one services, and through experiences.
We prepare individuals to advocate. Advocating is a process of supporting individuals to express their own views and concerns, access information and services, defend and promote individual’s rights and responsibilities, and to explore choices and options.
We also participate in systems advocacy. Systems advocacy is an effort to change policies, rules or laws which determine how services are provided.
There are similarities between the two types of advocacy but there are also important differences. Both types of advocacy involve the use of the five phases of problem-solving: problem definition, information gathering, goal setting, advocacy planning, assertive communication, and follow-up.