Appointing an advocate

Your family member can legally appoint an advocate.

This is someone trained to speak up for them and support their preferences when they have to make decisions about their services.

Advocates can help in areas like:

  • School: including the IEP process.

  • Health insurance: including working with MassHealth.

  • Adult services: including working with the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) or Department of Mental Health (DMH).

The advocate can get paperwork, go to meetings and speak up for your family member.


Here's what you can do:

  1. Talk to a lawyer, teacher, or case manager for help in deciding if an advocate is right for your family.

  2. Contact the Federation for Children with Special Needs. They have a list of people who have been trained as advocates in various areas.

Read about these programs:

The Call Center is staffed from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm, Monday through Friday:1-800-331-0688, or email them at:


Sources: Autism Consortium, Federation for Children with Special Needs, Misilo (2013), Nadworny & Haddad (2007)