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Types of Advocacy

There are a number of different types of advocacy service that we offer. These different types of advocacy are designed to meet the many varied situations that people with learning disabilities can find themeselves in.

Short-term/Crisis Advocacy

This is also known as crisis advocacy or issue advocacy. In this situation the advocate is matched with a person to work on a specific problem in their life such as housing or financial difficulties. The advocate will support that person until the 'crisis' or 'issue' is over and then will move on

People with learning disabilities often have difficulty in problem solving and in communicating with others. They may need more intensive help in times of crisis. Crisis advocacy may lead the advocate to deal with bereavement, homelessness, abuse, and many other crisis situations. Advocates do not replace professionals but in crisis situations it is important that they can provide good listening skills, be supportive, reliable and assertive.

Group Advocacy

As people with learning disabilities have moved out of large institutions into community based accommodation, the need for independent representation has grown. Forums are supported by a group advocate, to obtain the views of residents on the services they receive. The advocate supports the group to put forward their views and helps them conduct meetings and write letters on their behalf if necessary.

Citizen Advocacy

Citizen advocates are matched with people who share common interests. They may enjoy each others company and choose to go on outings together or make use of local amenities, such as leisure centres. Over time as the advocate gets to know his or her partner, often this relationship develops to a level where the advocate can support their partner to express their views regarding matters that are important to them, and on occasions uphold their partners rights.

Self Advocacy

Self-advocacy can be defined as 'a process in which an individual or group of people speak or act on their own behalf in pursuit of their own interest and needs'. However, in more simplistic terms it is a process in which people with learning disabilities are promoted and encouraged:

  • to speak up for themselves at meetings and reviews
  • to make daily choices
  • to be involved in larger forums that make recommendations that can affect the community as a whole (for example, partnership boards and the Ambassadors project)

Non-instructed Advocacy

Non-Instructed advocacy is used as a last resort when all other forms of communication have been exhausted. These forms of communication may include, observation, talking mats, communication boards, and actively listening.

The advocate has to bear in mind a person’s fundamental needs, for example:

  • access to satisfactory care
  • freedom of choice
  • promoting self value
  • opportunities for progression

In this process, advocates make us of a 'watching brief'' which:

  • concentrates on a defined baseline of needs
  • uses the power of asking 'Why?'
  • is used in a non-prescriptive way where the advocate does not offer their own option or express a view

A valuable tool to use is the eight domains to a quality of life, which is taken from work developed by Chris Sterling form Choices Housing.  These concentrate on a person’s:

  • competence
  • community presence
  • continuity
  • choice and influence
  • individuality
  • status and respect
  • partnerships and relationships
  • wellbeing