High Support Needs

Issue based advocacy for people with high support needs, include individuals who have challenging behaviour, autism and communication difficulties. Some of this work can be non-instructed advocacy which is where the individual cannot instruct the advocate to a course of action or issue.

There are 2 different types of non-instructive advocacy including those who have capacity but have significant barriers to communication and those who have no capacity.

3 distinct approaches to non-instructive advocacy that can be used either separately, but more commonly and effectively as a combination:

1. Rights based advocacy

2. Own interests

3. Person centred

Much of the advocates time may be spent observing the individual in different environments and taking notes of things such as:

- How does your partner interact with others?

- How does your partner make choices?

- How many choices are offered?

The observations of the individual, those around them, and speaking to others will be evidenced and will provide the basis of the advocacy work and represent the person’s choices and wishes.

Advocacy input includes:

- Ensure the individual’s rights are upheld

- Raise questions / issues / concerns

- Ensure that the principles are kept at the forefront of discussions and decisions to be made

- Ask for alternatives to the decision to be considered

- Question the practice of the decision making

- Act as an independent observer on behalf of the individual