Types of Advocacy
Advocacy involves promoting the interests or cause of someone or a group of people. An advocate is a person who argues for, recommends, or supports a cause or policy. Advocacy is also about helping people find their voice. There are three types of advocacy - self-advocacy, individual advocacy and systems advocacy. The CED is involved in all areas of advocacy for people with disabilities and their families.
- Self-advocacy refers to an individual's ability to effectively communicate, convey, negotiate or assert his or her own interests, desires, needs, and rights (VanReusen et al., 1994).
- Self-advocacy means understanding your strengths and needs, identifying your personal goals, knowing your legal rights and responsibilities, and communicating these to others.
- Self-Advocacy is speaking up for oneself!
In individual advocacy a person or group of people concentrate their efforts on just one or two individuals. According to the group Advocacy for Inclusion "Advocacy is having someone to stand beside you if you think something is unfair or that someone is treating you badly and you would like to do something to change it."
There are two common forms of individual advocacy - informal and formal advocacy. When people like parents, friends, family members or agencies speak out and advocate for vulnerable people this is termed informal advocacy. Formal advocacy more frequently involves organizations that pay their staff to advocate for someone or for a group of individuals.
Systems advocacy is about changing policies, laws or rules that impact how someone lives their life. These efforts can be targeted at a local, state, or national agency. The focus can be changing laws, or simply written or unwritten policy. What is targeted depends on the type of problem and who has authority over the problem (Brain Injury Resource Center, 1998).