Gifted Advocacy2020-03-18T12:16:54+00:00

Gifted Advocacy

What is Advocacy?

‘Advocacy’ means speaking up for someone and being their supportive spokesperson. The National Autistic Society says: “Advocacy is a process of supporting and enabling people to express their views, to use information and services, to find out about options and make decisions, and to make sure their rights are respected.” (https://www.autism.org.uk/advocacy)

An ‘advocate’ makes sure the needs, rights or views of a person are fairly represented and heard by the appropriate officials, decision-makers or other significant people. (In a different sense, certain legal professionals similar to barristers are also called ‘advocates’.)

‘Gifted advocacy’ could involve writing letters on behalf of a high learning potential (HLP) youngster. Or accompanying a gifted Dual and Multiple Exceptionality (DME) learner in official meetings as they seek a challenging education at school – or for the resources to receive this in a home education setting.

‘Ambassadors’ can also advocate for an area in which they are passionate. This does not represent a specific individual, but supports a whole sector, such as maths education. Specifically representing youngsters with high learning potential, Potential Plus UK has a network of high-profile official Ambassadors: https://www.potentialplusuk.org/index.php/introducing-potential-plus-uk/ambassadors/



Self-Advocacy for High Learning Potential Youngsters

Self-advocacy requires an HLP child or young person to have a clear, calm understanding of themself, their needs and their learning ability. This must be coupled with an awareness of when and how to speak up – and with whom (parents, teachers, school governors, etc). These are skills that will need to be taught, possibly by a parent, responsible adult, teacher and/or using online resources such as those suggested below.

An alternative route to getting a young learner’s voice heard is for them to create or join a ‘student group‘ or ‘school council’.

Self-Advocacy Online Resources

School-/Student Councils

Multimedia



Parent Advocacy

Parents or carers might be the most appropriate people to act as advocates for their HLP learner. This might entail being in contact with a school, (such as individual teachers, the head teacher, office staff, a SENCo, the board of governors), Ofsted or the local education authority. Home-educated children might need an advocate when liaising with the local authorities, council services, independent study groups or online tutors.

Children and young people with mental health problems, on the autism spectrum or who are Dual or Multiple Exceptionality (DME), for example, may well need advocacy by their parent or guardian when dealing with the local authorities, social services, health professionals or Educational Welfare Officer.

As well as these individual situations, some advocates find strength in creating or joining a parent ‘pressure group’ to reach out in numbers to the wider community.

Parent Advocacy Online Resources

How to Advocate for Your Child

Powerful Correspondence

https://www.wrightslaw.com/advoc/articles/Letter_to_Stranger.html

School Contact

Blogs

Multimedia



Teacher and School Advocacy

Now that there is no ‘right to funding’ for school Gifted and Talented programmes, teachers, head teachers or governors might need to advocate (to other teachers, heads of year, head teachers, governors or local authorities) for funding or people’s time with specialist clubs, study sessions or equipment, for example.

As schools increasingly form groups of academies, advocacy to Teaching Assistants, SENCos, teachers and senior managers has grown to include those within other learning establishments, as part of school-to-school discussions. There are many ways in which a teacher, SENCo or senior staff member might need to advocate for a young, HLP learner or their parent.

Teacher and School-Advocacy Online Resources

(Occasional US bias, but strong advice and experience that is relevant internationally.)

Parent Groups

Multimedia



2E / DME  

Blogs

Multimedia

  • Documents
  • Education professionals’ advocacy for gifted students with autism spectrum disorder; downloadable dissertation: https://scholarworks.wm.edu/etd/1463428512/
  • ‘STOMP – Top Tips for Advocates’ from Voiceability and the NHS includes ASD support: https://voiceability.org/uploads/STOMP_Advocacy_Guide.pdf
  • Books
  • Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy: The Special Education Survival Guide, 2nd Edition, by Peter W. D. Wright and Pamela Darr Wright
  • Guide to Special Education Advocacy: What Parents, Clinicians and Advocates Need to Know by Matthew Cohen


Highly Gifted Advocacy

Multimedia



Gifted Advocacy Events Internationally

Online Summit

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