As the field of special education advocacy grows and the population of students with disabilities in the United States becomes more diverse, it is crucial to understand how advocates work with culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) families of individuals with disabilities. In this pilot study, we conducted interviews with twelve CLD advocates who worked primarily with CLD families. We found that CLD advocates faced barriers and supports in connecting with families as well as in working with families and schools. Advocates reported meeting families through informal networks. When working with families, advocates reported supports (e.g., shared cultural, parenting and family experiences) and barriers (e.g., disempowerment and limited access to education and resources). When working within the school, advocates reported two barriers: language and a deficit-based perspective. Implications for policy and practice are discussed.
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