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TEACHING HOW TO ADVOCATE

Knowing how to advocate for oneself can be one of the most valuable strategies available to individuals with FASD. Advocating is a necessary and worthwhile process, however, it can be tiresome and negative emotions can surface, so it is important to teach how to advocate effectively. 

Clients with FASD can learn their own style of advocating by learning more about their disability and how it affects them. In some cases advocating may be involved in the procurement of a job to explaining to employers what type of training or schedule will be needed to be successful. In other cases, advocating may be needed to explain the strengths that result from each unique constellation of effects and why it may help them in that particular job. 

It is important that individuals have a form to talk about their disability in whatever positive or negative format they need at that time. This process allows an individual to assess their feelings and gain the understanding needed to speak on their own behalf. 

Some resources are available to help families and support workers guide the process of self-advocacy, such as booklets that encourage the individual to describe themselves: what they are good at, and what they struggle with. 

Other opportunitites to learn about FASD can be helpful as well. Try looking into DVDs about individuals with FASD who have learned to thrive, workshops, booklet series, and support workers. Be sure the information provided is up-to-date and directed towards those people with FASD. Having an information series that is directed towards medical doctors about medical diagnosis may not proivde the content required to advocate for oneself. 

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