Know your protected rights and save time by asking for help.
reading time: 10 minutes tags: functional
Advocacy brings to mind legislation, group organizing and fight for a cause. In this case, effective advocacy is more directly about YOU and how to be a fighter for your rights (or the rights of someone you love) when dealing with vision loss.
There are 3 steps toward becoming an effective advocate. Yes, you need bravado and determination, but an approach embedded in self-awareness and clear goals will help prepare you for communicating with service providers down the road.
STEP 1 = Self-Assessment: know your needs.
You know better than anyone else where your needs reside. You may not know how to best remediate them, but you should be able to identify (with the help of natural supports) your priorities. Think big-picture. Make a list of your top 3 overall need areas. Examples can be:
STEP 2 = Choose Your Team: who can help you fight?
Remaining honest about when to bring in professionals is fundamental to advocacy. Family and friends cannot help you fight every fight, so you need to genuinely choose who is best suited for your team:
STEP 3 = Goal Mapping: define your success.
Systematically mapping, or planning your goals based upon the needs you identified is going to put you in a position of power when it comes to negotiating your access to services. It's common that clients will ask for related services and will be turned down because there is no rationale, either from the client or a member of their advocacy team.
Sometimes working backwards can help too - if you don't know exactly what your need is, or who can help you, defining where you WANT TO BE either emotionally, functionally or in terms of your quality of life can assist others in determining which services can help you reach that goal.