There is a "feeling" around the word advocacy. It sounds adversarial. The goal is to enlighten and educate not enforce and threaten, is there a time for the later two? Case in point the movement to allow children with disabilities into public schools and this just happened in the 70's.
Our first reaction and call to action should be to dialogue. Without too much detail because this author always feels like she could do more, I tried that and it was not working so by way of an off hand conversation I found one of the first five advocacy groups who received grant money from the government to assist families with obtaining a free and adequate education and services through public school.
This led to me currently doing the steps for volunteerism. Found my niche' here in this new land (another story, another time, moved to Indiana a few years back).
Going forward the initial agenda is always to create relationships with the schools, to help educate as a lot of times they are not educated on things like the almighty "IEP" which is your child's binding guide for services. Yes, it can be changed but that initial IEP is super important.
Did you know there are parent advocacy groups in every state? Your department of education may have a lot of great information and they are on the web. What isn't, right?
Lastly, support is key. Finding groups and forming groups may be your lifeline. I know I have had to apologize lately for some past emails, but it is what it is and having a child with needs outside the "normal" child changed me internally and to my core. I am not the same person.
Not an excuse but it is a reality and a process and the more I feel heard the better I get at navigation.
As I progress to another phase of life there will be local resources posted here, I encourage anyone reading to be the point of outreach for your area. Localized efforts are proven to have the best results.
Signing off ~ one minute at a time, take it in and be thankful.