How to Advocate for Your Child

January 30, 2023

As a parent, it is important to be an advocate for your child. It is essential to stay involved in their schooling and activities, to ensure that they are receiving the best possible education and support.

What is Advocacy?

Advocacy is the public support for or recommendation of a particular cause or policy. As an advocate, you must champion a cause or person, defend, and speak out on their behalf. As such we need some skills to be able to do this.

In this case, your child or child you are caring for and more specifically children who are delayed in some aspect of their development, language delay and autism in my case.

For those who prefer video watch here

Three skills come to mind; these are not exclusive, but I think they are necessary:

  • Assertiveness: We need to be able to speak clearly, express our feelings honestly with the best interest of our child at the heart of the discussion.
  • Confidence: We must have faith and belief in ourselves and the cause we are advocating for. Confidence grows as we engage in advocacy, the more we do it, the more confident we become.
  • Courage: We may not always feel courageous but when something is as important as our children’s wellbeing, we develop the courage needed for the task. We do it AFRAID!

It can be frightening to go to meetings, ask for help or even accept that our child may be delayed in an aspect of their development, so bravery/courage is sometimes needed.

So where do you start?

Advocacy begins in the early years before they start formal education; especially if they are delayed in any area of their development or need extra support to help them reach their potential.

You can start by raising concerns if you have them, accepting statutory early years development assessment, engage with Early Intervention services before they start school.

As they grow older, you can do this by attending school functions and meetings, talking to teachers and administrators, and talking to your child about their needs and experiences.

In the case of children who are not yet talking or who cannot tell us their needs; we need to know our children, their likes and dislikes, their personality, how they behave in different environments… you are the expert on your child.

You can also research resources in the community that can help your child reach their goals, such as after school programs, tutoring services, or mental health resources. You need to do whatever it takes; especially if these services are free.

It is also important to stay in contact with your child’s teachers and school administrators, nursery practitioners, Health Visitors, to know how they are progressing and to provide feedback or suggestions.

Ask questions, educate yourself on what they are doing in school, ask them for advice on what you can do at home…

To advocate for your child, you must first love and accept them for who they are and then go out and be their champion and defend them.

Finally, always remember to support your child and provide them with a safe, nurturing environment to grow and learn.

Watch the video here



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