Advocacy crosses all sectors, but health & education advocacy often go hand-in-hand.
A+J is a patient advocacy organization, meaning we work with clients and their healthcare needs. But, at its core, advocacy is applicable in any sector/industry/field. When you think of healthcare and education, there are so many links, especially for children and teens with 504 Plans and Individualized Education Plans (IEPs).
Role of the Health Advocate
Health advocates perform a number of duties, but most popularly, assist patients and their families in navigating the health system. This may include supporting the patient in finding the best care team, acquiring insurance coverage, disputing insurance denials, and attending care appointments to ensure compliance and understanding.
Role of the Education Advocate
Education advocates support the student and family in the school setting, and bridge the gap between school administration, school counselors, teachers, and other school-based services. This may include advocating for specific accommodations or services, amending 504 Plans or IEPs, and assisting with transition periods (new school, graduation, etc.).
How Health & Education Advocates CAN Collaborate
Because many (if not most) children and teens on 504 Plans and IEPs have health conditions which impact learning, there is a huge opportunity for health and education advocates to collaborate. Each professional can garner a better grasp on the other industry and effectively and efficiently advocate for the client’s needs.
Health advocates may attend school meetings with the education advocate to better explain the health condition, treatment, or outcomes, and how it affects the student’s learning ability and capacity. Education advocates may attend medical appointments to better explain the student’s learning and function in the academic environment.
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A+J Patient Advocacy recently co-presented at the IEP Summer Summit, hosted by Collaboration Center Foundation. Together with an education advocate and assistive communication technology specialist, we provided key advocacy tips and skills that every family can use.
One of the simplest, yet highly effective advocacy tools in education is writing a letter/email to the student’s school. A+J has provided a sample below, free to download and customize to your needs.
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Your Friendly Advocate