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Advocacy Tips


It can be exhausting to repeat your story multiple times while trying to find the right service. Instead of telling your whole story to a service over the phone, try to start a conversation with a service by asking: 
“Hi, I’m calling because I’m trying to find the right service for me, can you please describe to me, the scope of your service? This way I will know if I should share more of my story”.

You have the right to live free of discrimination.  If you feel that someone is treating you differently because of your disability, speak to someone at DACSSA, or the Australian Human’s Rights Commission for more information about your options and rights.

There are resources available to people with disability studying at TAFE and University. You can find this information at the Australian Disability Clearinghouse on Education and Training (ADCET).

If you’re not sure what supports are available for students with disability within a school setting, the Special Education Resource Unit may be able to help you understand what supports are available, what the school is responsible for, and whether other help is available.

If you are meeting with a school, prepare by writing a meeting agenda. This agenda should have a list of all your topics of discussion that you want addressed. Provide this agenda to the school prior to the meeting if you can. Explain what the current issues are, your desired outcomes of the meeting, what supports are required from the school, what strategies would be helpful in preventing issues from arising in the future, highlight your major concerns and what will and won’t work for your child, and, if available, reference professional observations and key strategies your child’s therapist has provided. 

Does your child have a One Plan? One Plan’s should be developed by school leadership, not just the classroom teacher, and more importantly, in consultation with parents and any external support providers/therapists. They should also be regularly reviewed and adjusted.

When discussing your rights with different organisations they may have very specific issues they will deal with. Ensure that you are approaching an appropriate and relevant organisation, that will be interested in the aspects of your rights or discrimination issue.

DACSSA is an issues-based service. This means that we focus our attention to address a particular issue you are experiencing. We will work with you to agree to the steps we can take to support you in resolving your matter. We are not able to provide ongoing case management, but we can connect you with further supports to help you if needed. 

Did you know that people who are working towards a submission for the Disability Royal Commission have access to free legal advice through Your Story Disability Legal Support? DACSSA can help you link in with this service to give you peace of mind. 

If you are frustrated with a service, organisation or school, you may feel big emotions. Try to take the anger out of your voice, your texts and emails, and instead – express that you’re feeling angry. If it’s hard to do this in person, prepare something in writing or delay your response until you’re feeling calm. This may help to bridge the communication issues and show the respondent that what’s happening you is really affecting you, and you’re wanting to find a solution together.

If you’re writing a meeting agenda to address an issue, it should always include:

  • Your understanding/belief about what the problem is (avoid accusations);
  • How this makes you feel; and
  • A suggestion for what could make it better.

If your child brings a problem to you, consider this an opportunity to model positive problem-solving with them by working with your child to come up with their own solution and talking about how to work with the teacher to resolve the issue. You could use prompts like “What if we ask Mrs. Penny if she has any ideas about how we can sort out this problem?”, “How do you think we could start this conversation?

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