Self Advocacy


Self-advocacy is the process of making your needs known, and trying to get them met.

Self-advocacy is a term that is used almost exclusively to talk about the activities of disabled people. When a disabled person makes their needs or wishes known to others, and tries to get those needs or wishes met, they are engaging in self-advocacy. Self-advocacy can happen in one-on-one situations, but self-advocates also represent their needs to larger groups, such as state autism commissions.

Some concepts of self-advocacy only include “polite” self-advocacy, such as asking calmly or writing a well thought out letter. Other people think that only political self-advocacy, or activism like testifying before a legislature, lobbying to pass a law, or writing a blog post, is self-advocacy. This is not true; there are many forms of self-advocacy. If someone is making their needs or wishes known, through behavior, AAC, words, or a combination of these things, they are advocating for themselves, whether they are saying no, choosing eggs for breakfast, or chaining themselves to a bus.

-List of related media/links

-List of concrete examples

  • Usage example: “A young autistic protesting going back to school is engaging in self-advocacy.”

  • Case example: An autistic student attending their own IEP meeting.

  • Case example: The work done at formal organizations like SABE or ASAN.

  • Case example: An autistic who escapes from their day program to visit their favorite spot in town.

  • Case example: Testifying before your state legislature to preserve Medicaid.

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