Speaking Out: A guide for advocates for children and young people with learning disabilities
NSPCC and Voice UK, £2.50
(or download from www.nspcc.org.uk/inform)
STAR RATING: 5/5
A clear, well-presented guide which is aimed at being a resource for advocates, writes Jason Upton.
The guide's style is practical, jargon-free and person-centred.
Without coming across as procedural, or being overly concerned with systems, it offers concrete suggestions for good practice. The guide highlights the difference between good and bad advocacy with regards to the personal qualities and attitudes of the advocate and goes on to delve into information-sharing, promoting rights and the importance of being independent and equal.
One of the key areas that stands out is the guide's emphasis on being person-centred. It emphasises the need to respect the uniqueness of each child or young person's thoughts, feelings, wishes and communication styles, and cautions against making assumptions.
The guide also makes important suggestions to ensure that children and young people are fully able to access and make good use of an advocacy service, as well as how to involve them in service provision and evaluation.
Speaking Out seems well-researched in terms of collecting the views and opinions of children and young people with learning difficulties.
Indeed, the quotes from young people interspersed in the text supporting the ideas outlined in the book, really help it come alive and bring their voices and experiences to the fore.
The guide offers a good example of advocacy in action.
Jason Upton is young people's project manager at Respond, a learning difficulties charity