There are likely to be times when you need to step in and advocate for the needs of your child. You can do this yourself by following a process or enlist the support of a professional independent advocate.
Learning to be your child’s best advocate
You can either advocate
personally and/or enlist the help of an advocate. Either way, there’s a process to follow and tips to keep you focused and on track.
Learn about different forms of advocacy support
There are a number of different types of advocacy support? Some may be more useful at different points in your child’s life.
This booklet was developed by Syndromes Without a Name, (SWAN), to provide parents and carers with tools and resources to advocate for their children in relation to healthcare, social services and supports, (including NDIS) and education.
Advocating for your Child at School
Advocating for your child at school is an ongoing process. Building your confidence and knowledge will help you advocate for your child more effectively.
Thriving in regular schools
A collection of information shared by families about their experiences of choosing regular schooling for their child with intellectual disability.
Frequently asked questions
I keep hearing different things about 'advocating for your child' but what is it exactly?
Advocacy is about promoting and defending the rights, needs and interests of your child.
You can either advocate personally and/or enlist the help of an advocate to help you get your point across and ensure that your voice is heard.
An independent advocate is someone who is ‘on your team’. They will stand by you and work towards the best outcome for your child and your family. They can attend meetings with you, make phone calls on your behalf and assist you to write emails, letters and documents.
An advocate can help you liaise with the NDIS, Centrelink, education providers and, where necessary, assist with appeal applications. Advocacy organisations also lobby for positive changes in the community.
You can find out more about the various types of advocacy by downloading the snapshot on this page. To find an advocate to support you and your child with an issue, filter by ‘Advocacy’ in the Useful organisations section of this website.
I've lost access to my daughter's information as she's gotten older. What are my rights as her primary carer?
As the primary carer of your daughter, you have important rights and entitlements under the Carers Recognition Act 2004 and other relevant legislation. These rights include access to information and support services that can assist you in managing your daughter’s needs, including banking, Medicare, Centrelink and more. There are various forms and processes to access and manage your daughter’s affairs as she moves into adulthood. Check out the resources on this page or book a time to speak with one of our knowledgeable Peer Navigators for guidance around issues specific to your circumstances.
My husband and I are in our 70s and we're worried about who will advocate for our son when we can't.
Citizen advocacy may be an option. It involves the development of long-term, one-to-one relationships between a vulnerable person and a volunteer advocate from the community. This can be very helpful when family live far away or are unable to help.
Citizen advocates provide friendship and act as a mentor and/or spokesperson to ensure that the voice of the person they support is heard and their needs are met.
There are many benefits, including increased social connections, improved quality of life and greater community engagement for vulnerable people. Check out Citizen Advocacy’s website or filter by ‘Advocacy’ in the Useful organisations section of this website.