There are several ways that individuals with developmental disabilities describe and define self advocacy including:

• Speaking up for themselves;
• Making their voices heard;
• Making their views known;
• Making choices and changes in their own lives;
• Coming together to support each other and have a say in the policies and practices that affect their lives.

Activities of self advocacy groups include:

• Making people aware of their rights;
• Training and talking to other people about self advocacy;
• Making information more accessible by using audiotapes or pictures;
• Making concrete changes to improve their lives (i.e. improve voter accessibility);
• Working to increase choices and quality of supports;
• Planning and organizing self advocacy conferences;
• Assisting people to speak up about abuse and exploitation;
• Organizing to fight against discrimination.

In summary, self advocacy means:

• Thinking for yourself;
• Saying what you think;
• Having relationships like anyone else;
• People listening to you;
• Making mistakes;
• Taking risks;
• Taking responsibility;
• Making decisions;
• Standing up for your rights.

RESOURCES:

E-Newsletters – http://www.hsri.org/leaders/theriot/
Self Advocates Becoming Empowered – http://www.sabeusa.org/

ADAPT – http://www.adapt.org/
Advocating Change Together (ACT) – http://www.selfadvocacy.com/
My Life, My Choice – http://www.farnorthernrc.org/mylifemychoice/