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The Roles and Ethics of an Advocate

Being an advocate for children with disabilites can be one of the most daunting and yet fulfilling responsibilities a person can have.  In developing our advocacy abilities it is worth taking the time to reflect upon who and advocate really is and what an advocate does.  In this section we take a look at the philosophy and ethics of advocacy.  We review the different ways a person might advocate for disabled children, advocacy roles, and the minimum competencies every advocate should have. Finally, we hope to develop a section, which will explore the business of advocacy, for professional advocates.  

The philosophy and ethics of advocacy:   This article explores the advocacy 
philosophy which should ground every advocate.  We are more than the sum of 
our knowledge or even our advocacy skills.  Read this article to obtain a sense 
of who we are and what makes us effective advocates.
I.  What is an Advocate?
II.  How do we Advocate?

See a brief article:  The Effective Advocate  Click Here

The diverse world of advocates:  This article looks briefly at the various 
types of educational advocates working for the best interests of children with 
disbilities.  The categories are based on how a particular advocate practices.  
Every advocate is an essential player in the work of obtaining appropriate 
education and the order of listing the categories is not intended to give any 
particular priority or importance to any category of advocate.
I.     The Parent Advocate
II.   The Volunteer Advocate
III.  The Professional Advocate
IV.   The Paralegal Advocate
V.     The Attorney Advocate

The advocate competencies: This article reviews the basic competencies that 
an advocate needs in order to effectively advocate for children with 
disabilities.  Being an advocate is a vocation of continual learning and growing.  
As advocates learn and grow, they often become important resources, not only 
to children with disabilities, but to school districts who are struggling to teach 
our children.
I.     Knowledge of Law
II.    Knowledge of Education and the psychology of learning
III.  Knowledge of Special Educational Plannings and Procedures
IV.   Knowledge of Disabilities and Educational Services

Advocacy roles or responsibilities:  This short article reviews some of the 
      ways that the advocate might serve parents and children with disabilities.  It is 
      worth keeping these roles in mind as one studies and prepares for advocacy.  
      The depth of responsibilities that may fall on an advocate’s shoulders must 
      push each of us to continue striving to expand our knowledge and skills.

Ethical Considerations:  Every advocate must respect some important ethical 
      considerations. As much any attorney or educational professional, the advocate 
      should consider his or her role as one requiring the ultimate sensitivity to a 
      high ethical standard.



Advocacy Roles and Ethics