Self Advocacy

Visit Transition to Adulthood for more resources on the transition process. 

It is never too early to start teaching your child how to advocate for themselves. Like many other
important life skills, self-advocacy is a critical tool your son or daughter needs in order to achieve goals, increase self-sufficiency, and become a successful young adult. It is a lifelong process that begins with your child learning by watching their parent be a good advocate. Self-advocacy means taking the responsibility for communicating your wants and needs in a clear manner. It is a set of skills to learn.

Self-advocacy includes:
• Speaking up for yourself
• Communicating your strengths, needs, and wishes
• Being able to listen to the opinions of others
• Having a sense of self-respect
• Taking responsibility for yourself
• Knowing your rights
• Knowing where to get help or who to go to with a question

Supported Decision Making

Every person can make choices and has a right to make decisions. Supported decision-making can give individuals the assistance they need to make decisions for themselves. For example, family members and friends can help point out risks, advantages, and consequences of a decision. Things can be explained in a way that the person can understand, giving them information for making the choice. 

Michigan Resources

LIPA Leaders in Policy Advocacy is a leadership development program for adults with developmental disabilities and parents of minor children with developmental disabilities. The goal of LIPA is to train and support participants to become leaders in disability advocacy.

Michigan Disability Rights Coalition

  • Her Power! Her Pride! is annual event for high school and middle school girls with disabilities in Michigan.
  • Proud and Powerful are customized workshops regarding disability history, culture, identity, and pride.

Michigan Developmental Disabilities Council (DD Council) works to support people with developmental disabilities to achieve life dreams. The 21-member Council is appointed by the Governor, and supported by a Lansing-based staff.  Meetings of the Council are public – anyone may attend.

Michigan Statewide Independent Living Council promotes a philosophy of independent living through consumer control, peer support, self-help, self-determination, equal access, and individual and systems advocacy to maximize the leadership, empowerment, independence, and productivity of people with disabilities.. This includes the full integration and inclusion of people with disabilities into the mainstream of American society.

Partners Advancing Self-Determination provides free state-level technical assistance, training, and support to help make sure people are able to direct their own services.

Possibilities Video Series The Michigan Developmental Disabilities Institute’s (MI-DDI) award winning Possibilities series of videos focuses on the lives and accomplishments of individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Each 4-7 minute video highlights the journeys of different individuals, along with their family and friends, and illustrates the lives possible for all people as they mature, become independent, and pursue their life’s dreams and goals

Self-Advocates of Michigan is a statewide organization led by leaders with developmental disabilities. It promotes the values of diversity, inclusion, equal rights and the self-determination of individuals with disabilities

More Self-Advocacy Resources

Youth as Self Advocates  is a national, grassroots project created by youth with disabilities for youth. YASA knows youth can make choices and advocate for themselves if they have the information and support they need.

A Guide to Legislative Advocacy for Youth with Disabilities is a guide from NCLD Action Center to help youth communicate about the importance of a policy issue or law to people who are in a position to change it.

Self Advocacy Online  Find Self-Advocacy groups; view stories from Self-Advocates, Learn about Self-Advocacy and find News you can Use.



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