Advocacy Coach is a term that we have not heard much, but this is a very important role that someone plays in the life of the disability community. Before the laws few people acknowledged that there is a disability community. Today, we're still on the outskirts looking in.

People with disabilities still don't have opportunities in the workplace even though we have laws on the books today to guarantee us these rights. Especially now that there is 10% unemployment. The only option is to look to self employment. Even here there are pitfalls, since if you don't have the opportunity to work someplace and build up credit to qualify for bank loans or SBA micro-loans, therefore, you have to find someone willing to help finance your business, or pay as you go as I did, which makes it very difficult to start and grow a business.

I was educated before there were laws guaranteeing people with disabilities the right to an education. When this law was passed I was in graduate school and in the workforce. That was 32 years ago which was still 15 years before the Americans With Disabilities Act became law. Prior to that the only law that addressed employment was the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. At that time I had no one willing to speak up for me to see to it that my rights were not trampled on.

I studied Rehabilitation Counseling so I could learn what my rights were under the law in the area of employment. I then found that for me to work in my chosen field I had to start my own business. I had to learn to become my own advocate so I could receive what I was entitled to.

Eventually I worked with GARC conducting a group to teach their parents and guardians how to speak up and make sure their clients and children received the services they were entitled to. The Mental Health field is also allowing many of their clients fall through the cracks because they don't know how to speak up for themselves; their guardians are taking their money and putting many of them on the streets. About 50% of the homeless community is mentally ill and often end up in jail instead of receiving the services and medication they desperately need.

There are 57 million people considered disabled based on the description of ADA or 20% of the population. With right training this group can learn to speak of for themselves and learn to demand their rights. That means having training on how to become their own advocate to demand their rights be met.

When I couldn't find gainful employment, I decided to create my own opportunity in the workplace. Due to the economy everyone else is put into the position of having to make a similar choice or be left behind. Because I had to deal with these issues 32 years ago I can now coach others to make sure their rights are met.

Are you sure you are receiving the services you deserve? The government will not tell you what your rights are, you have to seek out the information on your own, and then fight to make sure you are receiving the services you deserve. Minorities are often overlooked by society unless you learn to speak up.

To tie this all together an advocacy coach is someone who works with you to help you learn to build self confidence in your capabilities and come up with ways you can help yourself reach the goals you have in life.

Author's Bio: 

I hold an AAS in Mental Health, BS in Psychology, and attended Hunter College in NYC, NY in a Masters program for Rehabilitation Counseling. As a member of Toastmasters International I received both the CTM and ATM certifications. As a member of NSA-GA Chapter I participated in their mentoring program and put together a speech Success is My Only Option! I attended Stores Online Internet Marketing training. My company is Career Performance Institute through which I present teleseminars, webinars, mentoring programs or boot camps, life, career, advocacy, technology, & organizational coaching. As an Inscape Publishing distributor IO sell training programs to companies as a supplier, and use EPIC as online assessment for clients to generate reports for coaching on communication, relationships, employment, work expectations, leadership, listening, learning, time management, diversity, time management, stress management, sales, and managing people.