Self-Advocacy and Leadership

People with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities1 (IDD) have the right to advocate and/or be supported to act as self-advocates. Self-advocates exercise their rights as citizens by communicating for and representing themselves and others, with whatever supports they need. Self-advocates must have a meaningful role in decision-making in all areas of their daily lives and in public policy decisions that affect people with IDD.

People with IDD have been isolated and segregated from their communities, and presumed incompetent, resulting in loss and denial of basic human rights and discrimination in almost all areas of personal and community life. Through self-advocacy, people with IDD will have more impact on their own situations and on the public policies that affect them.

The self-advocacy movement has been critically important in supporting people with IDD to learn about self-advocacy skills and other topics, including:

Civil rights, including the right to vote, the right to integrated services and supports, and self-determination;

  • Self-confidence and development of leadership skills;
  • Successful story-telling;
  • Public speaking;
  • Problem-solving techniques;
  • Participation in group decision-making; and
  • Involvement on boards and task forces and with policymakers at the local, state, and national level.

There are many ways for people with IDD to act as advocates, including individual self-advocacy for the individual services and supports that they or another person with IDD needs, as well as policy advocacy for the funding, services, and rights that impact people with IDD at the local, state, and national level.

The owner of this website has made a commitment to accessibility and inclusion, please report any problems that you encounter using the contact form on this website. This site uses the WP ADA Compliance Check plugin to enhance accessibility.
Achieve with us.