Advocacy is a political process by an individual or a large group which normally aims to influence public-policy and resource allocation decisions within political, economic, and social systems and institutions; it may be motivated from moral, ethical or faith principles or simply to protect an asset of interest. Advocacy can include many activities that a person or organization undertakes including media campaigns, public speaking, commissioning and publishing research or poll or the filing of friend of the court briefs.
A surprising number of people acquire a disability that profoundly affects their functional ability for the remainder of their lives. These disabilities often result from automobile crashes, recreational and work-related accidents, military service, acute and chronic illnesses and sensory deficits. Other people are born with physical or mental disabilities that will limit their functional ability throughout their lives.
In this society that worships perfection, people with disabilities have struggled to be recognized as individuals and to have the same opportunities as people without functional impairments.
Advocating for people with disabilities requires knowledge of how the disability affects the individual’s functional skills and interpersonal relationships. For example, a person with a spinal cord injury may have excellent communication skills but be unable to enter buildings that lack ramps. A person with schizophrenia, however, may be physically completely mobile but be unable to effectively express his or her own needs. The best way to determine how the disability affects the individual is to ask him or her to explain their areas of impaired function as well as their areas of ability.