Self-Advocacy is learning how to speak up for yourself, making your own decisions about your own life, learning how to get information so that you can understand things that are of interest to you, finding out who will support you in your journey, knowing your rights and responsibilities, problem solving, listening and learning, reaching out to others when you need help and friendship, and learning about self-determination.
Why is Self-Advocacy Important?
So that you have the knowledge needed to succeed and are given the change to participate in decisions that are being made about YOUR life.
These definitions are provided by Wrightslaw and we found them appropriate and accurate!
Articles & Resources
Some of the resources below are in PDF format. You need Adobe Acrobat Reader, which you can download online for free.
Anthony True Trains Other Students with Dyslexia to Self-Advocate. Anthony, a dedicated Youth Ambassador for dyslexia awareness, travels around CO to give presentations that include research based evidence about learning disabilities. Who is Anthony? – View his Presentation.
Planning Your Future from the Disability Law Lowdown provides valuable information for high schoolers about how to plan for their future whether the transition is to employment, post-secondary education, or independent living. Students learn to advocate for themselves though podcasts, videos, written transcripts. Available in English, Spanish, and American Sign Language.
Self-Advocacy: Know Yourself, Know What You Need, Know How to Get It by Nancy Suzanne James Johnson. “Self-advocacy is the ability to understand and communicate one’s needs to other individuals. Learning to become an effective self-advocate is all about educating the people around you. There are three steps to becoming an effective self-advocate.
Self-Advocacy: Strategies for All Ages. Students who know how to self-advocate have an important skill that supports lifelong success. Tips to help your child acquire the skills that will help them understand their needs and communicate those needs to others.
Chart Your Own Future. This is a pdf document that will help you answer these questions: What will you be doing after high school? Where will you be working, going to school, or living? What kind of life do you want?
How Can My Child Be Involved in the IEP Process? Children need as much practice in self advocacy as possible before they turn 18, when parental rights transfer to the special education student. Self advocacy skills prepare students for the world and their future beyond high school.
Self-Advocacy: A Valuable Skill for Your Teenager. Self-advocacy is understanding your strengths and needs, identifying your personal goals, knowing your legal rights and responsibilities, and communicating these to others.
Navigating College Handbook. From the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network – An introduction to the college experience from those who’ve been there. The writers and contributors are Autistic adults, and who give you the advice that we wish someone could have given us when we headed off to college. We wish we could sit down and have a chat with each of you, to share our experiences and answer your questions. Free download.
Self-Advocacy Guides. The Arizona Center for Disability Law offers several self-advocacy guides covering different disability-related legal issues free of charge. The guides cover topics such as employment, discrimination, assistive technology, special education, and more.
Charting the LifeCourse Toolkit. This toolkit is designed to help caregivers understand the meaning of respite, learn from real life examples, and create a respite plan that enhances the lives of all family members. It’s meant for family caregivers of a child or adult with a disability, chronic condition, or functional limitation (or professionals who work with family caregivers).
Deafverse. An interactive game that supports deaf youth with the development of their self-advocacy skills as they navigate real-life scenarios based on everyday experiences of deaf people. As deaf youth prepare for life after high school, feelings of anticipation and uncertainty are to be expected. Deafverse is based on adventure games, which offer a safe environment to apply critical thinking skills while engaging in problem-based learning by testing a variety of responses to challenges and conflicts. Deafverse can be played on computers or mobile devices, and at no cost to players. This game can be used at home, school, transition programs, or vocational rehabilitation settings. Share Deafverse today with the deaf young people you know, with the game’s motto in mind: “Choose Your Future”.
Organizations & Websites
Kids as Self-Advocates (KASA) is active in representing the voice of youth living with disabilities and chronic health conditions by speaking to policy makers at public events and hearings, educating our communities, including students, teachers and administrators at our schools; medical students and physicians; and federally funded cafe and agencies and state programs, and serving as advisors to organizations and agencies interested in promoting youth involvement and leadership.
Advocating Change Together (ACT) is a grassroots disability rights organization run by and for people with developmental and other disabilities. ACT’s mission is to help people across disabilities to see themselves as part of a larger disability rights movement and make connections to other civil and human rights struggles.
Youthhood. Childhood meets adulthood at Youthhood.org. Here you can start thinking about what you want to do with the rest of your life. This Web site was built to help you plan for the future.
Position Statement on Self-Advocacy from the Arc of the U.S. People with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities must be able to act as self-advocates, to exercise their rights by speaking and standing up for themselves. This means people must have a voice in decision-making in all areas of their daily life and in public policy decisions affecting them.