What is Self-Advocacy?


Self-advocacy is advocacy done by a person who is a member of the group the advocacy is for.

Self-advocacy is advocacy done by a member of the group that the advocacy is for. Self-advocacy around autism is done by Autistic people; self-advocacy around intellectual disability done by individuals with intellectual disabilities; and so on. Advocacy done by someone who is not a member of that group – such as a parent, professional, or caregiver – is not self-advocacy.

Self-advocacy can be really big or really small. Someone might do self-advocacy in basic things in their life, like communicating with a caregiver about what food, clothes, and activities they want. They might also want to do self-advocacy about big, national issues, like rules around employment or health care. It can be as simple as indicating that you don’t want something, by whatever means you communicate, or as big as creating big projects with other people who have similar concerns or even testifying in a senate hearing.

-List of related media/links

-List of concrete examples

  • Case example: Meeting with instructors about accommodations.

  • Case example: Telling someone “no”–either verbally, via AAC, or behaviorally.

  • Case example: A child telling their teachers what they do & don’t like at their IEP meeting.

  • Case example: A group of self-advocates talking to their congressperson about legislation.

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