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Helpful Skills to Being a Good Advocate

Encourage others to be leaders and become better self-advocates
Encourage your peers to speak up
Know about the Lanterman Act and basic rights of people with developmental disabilities
Have contacts within the community
Know about people first groups and/or self advocacy groups
Know about Regional Center services
Know about the Department of Developmental Services (DDS)
Be willing to help other people
Know what you’re good at and what your strengths are
Have confidence in yourself and in your abilities
Have good work skills and ethics
Be a good listener
Have a way to effectively communicate (doesn’t have to necessarily be by ‘talking’)
Have the desire to always learn more
Know where to go to learn more, or to get help Encourage others to

Be able to understand the ‘other persons’ point of view
Know what is expected of you as an advocate. Know what your ‘passions’ are

Have the ability to develop good relationships with many different kinds of people (peers, coworkers, providers, family members of consumers, community leaders, legislators etc.)
Be patient, but ‘tough’ with the people you work with when necessary
Be patient with other consumers
Be a good problem solver
Always put what is ‘best’ for the consumer first (what is ‘best’ for the consumer isn’t always what you think they want or need)
Not change your position on something you know is right, even when pressured to do so
Understand why trust is important in a relationship and try to build trust
Be able to work as part of a team
Know when you are able to do a task and when you should delegate that task to someone else or get help
Be able to know when something is best for the group and when something is best for an individual – and caring equally about both
Be able to speak (whether by voice or other means) in front of groups