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In someone else’s shoes

Stories of interest

Simone Stevens has been Communications Officer at VALID for two years. Simone is also a great self-advocate and has always wanted to be an advocate. Recently Simone was asked to support someone and learnt the importance of communication and regularly touching base with the client.

I have had many experiences, both good and bad, in my personal and professional life. It’s difficult when people tell me that I can’t do something or tell me that all I’d ever be good at is volunteering. It places doubts in my mind.

Since the age of 11 all I wanted was to become an advocate but I realised that I had a lot to learn before I could become one. I realised that I needed more life experience and to be sympathetic to people needs and situations. With working with such a fantastic organisation which is VALID being a paid employee means a whole lot to me but in February I was asked to advocate for someone.

I almost fell out of my electric wheelchair as this was my absolute dream come true.

A few weeks later I had another meeting with the client. In this meeting we went through the process, and it is important for the person to understand it so that they can develop their own self advocacy skills.

Throughout this process I learnt that it is important to keep in contact with the person you are supporting. There’s more than one way for this to happen, either through emails, phone calls or face to face catch ups. I also learnt that it is important to take notes after every session with the client, recording dates, times, locations, who attended the meeting and what was said.

The case was something I had never dealt with before and I knew that it was important to ask for help from another VALID advocate. Having kept a record of all the meetings made this process easier. I was able to clearly explain the situation and what was needed and we decided it was best for a more experienced advocate to help me.

I learnt a lot from this experience and I loved being an advocate. Hopefully I can learn more the next time!

portrait of Simone Stevens, VALID staff member, smiling at the camera
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