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Self Advocacy

Personal Self Advocacy

Self-advocacy means that you can speak up for yourself about the things that are important to you. You can ask for what you need and want and tell people about your thoughts and feelings. You know your rights and responsibilities and you speak up for them. You can make good choices and decisions.

Self-advocacy means you can decide what you want and develop and carry out a plan to help you get it.

Why are self-advocacy skills important?
Good self-advocacy skills are important because they give you the power to speak up for yourself, have more control and make decisions about your life.

If you are not happy with the way something is done then it is up to you to help change it. Nobody else knows how you feel or what you think; you need to be able to tell people if you are not happy or you want something to change.

When is speaking up for yourself important?

  • When you want to be listened to
  • When you are making a complaint
  • When you are developing or reviewing a plan

How do you begin to speak up for yourself?

  • Be confident. You decide what you want to speak up about
  • Know your goal and your plan to reach it
  • Know your rights and responsibilities
  • Know how to solve your problems
  • Know your support network. Ask for support from others if you need some help
  • Know how to give and take (negotiate)

Self Advocacy Tools

Community Self Advocacy 

Self-advocacy is not only for individuals but also for communities. Catulpa envisions a future where the people we serve are recognized and valued as contributing members of their community and fully integrated into their community’s activities.

We know this is a vision shared by many children, youth, adults, and families with developmental or mental disabilities. As individuals, agencies, and governments, we must work together to face the growing need for inclusive supports and services within our communities.

By advocating for better resources and funding for each child and family, we can make a difference.

No matter how you choose to advocate it’s important to follow some simple guidelines:

  • Be polite and reasonable
  • Be consistent when speaking about your issue. Keep it as simple as possible
  • Stay informed about changes to your issue
  • Be clear about your objectives and the need for a commitment, as well as desired next steps
  • Connect with others interested in your issue. Not only does this provide you support, but together you can be more effective
  • Follow up regularly with decision-makers so they know you are engaged and committed

There are several different ways you can choose to raise awareness about your issue. Some of them are:

  • A personal letter from you, your support group, or a larger community network to local, provincial, or federal politicians detailing your story and how the issue(s) affects you can be very impactful
  • Talk with local, provincial, or federal politicians. Phoning or meeting can have an impact, especially if they are not familiar with your issue
  • Start an online petition and present it to decision-makers, showing the issue is a concern to many
  • Post your story online. Social media sharing can reach a large number of people
  • Tell your story to community groups so they become engaged with your issue
  • Contact the media and provide them with your personal story and how the issue affects you or your family. Include facts and statistics they can use as background
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