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What is Self-Advocacy?

Self-advocacy is a form of advocacy in which individuals are empowered and informed to represent themselves in a number of settings.

Self-Advocacy is learning how to speak up for yourself, making your own decisions about your own life, learning how to get information so that you can understand things that are of interest to you, finding out who will support you in your journey, knowing your rights and responsibilities, problem solving, listening and learning, reaching out to others when you need help and friendship, and learning about self-determination (

What Do I Need to Remember:

  • Participate actively in the process, whether it is your IEP or transition, school or work or community.
  • Express clearly what your needs are
  • Set goals that you can realistically achieve
  • Find the information you need to make choices
  • Look for options or resources
  • Remember to bring an advocate, friend, or family member to a meeting to help and support you, if you prefer
  • Keep a folder of all communication.
  • Take notes at meetings or during calls

10 Steps to Effective Self-Advocacy:

Teaching Self-Advocacy Skills to Your Child or Student:

Additional Resources

10 Self-Advocacy Tips for Young People with Disabilities (INCLUDEnyc)
Disability Sensitivity Training (DC Office of Disability Rights)
What is Self-Advocacy? (RTC Media)