3.3 Being an advocate
The ‘top tips’ given in the feedback to the previous activity show how important it is for children to have a voice and be as independent as possible. However, some children with SEND need support. A teaching assistant can offer this support by acting as an advocate for the child.
What is advocacy?
Advocacy is a process of supporting and enabling people to:
- express their views
- access information and services
- find out about options and make decisions
- secure their rights.
As a teaching assistant you may act as an advocate for a child by representing the child’s interest and speaking out on their behalf. This can be at the level of letting the class teacher know how a child is feeling about a particular teaching strategy if the child is not able to tell the teacher themselves: ‘Elisha is finding it difficult to… / is unhappy about…’
With the greater focus on children’s rights, children can be encouraged to self-advocate and speak up for themselves and state their own needs.