It is important to communicate for yourself, when possible. Self-advocacy can enable individuals to be more directly involved in decision-making. To borrow a saying: “Nothing about us without us”. As
points out, it has been used by the disability community and other groups. In this article, I will discuss some self-advocacy strategies and resources.
To advocate successfully, it is important to first understand what self-advocacy means. According to
the term means identifying what you want to accomplish, be assertive, set goals and make decisions for yourself. In my experience, I consider it important for a self-advocate to be respectful of other perspectives and persist when necessary. Being respectful of those who may disagree with your viewpoint demonstrates
As the definition above from Merriam-Webster dictionary points out, empathy refers to an ability to understand another person’s feelings or thoughts. While I understand that some people are unable to demonstrate empathy, doing so shows respect for everyone involved. I will now discuss persistence.
By persistence, I refer to not giving up. To be persistent in a positive way, it is important to also be assertive. According to
people who are assertive respectfully and clearly communicate their positions and needs. Example: as of this writing I await response from someone regarding a personal matter. Due to no feedback from the person for over a week, today I sent a communication stating I am waiting for a response. My goal was to encourage follow-up. I will now discuss some self-advocacy resources.
There are a variety of self-advocacy resources available online. For example, a web resource focused on parents and youth offers
There are links on the page to a variety of training materials and fact sheets. For people who learn best visually, I found a YouTube
The presentation identifies 5 self-advocacy strategies. I encourage readers to learn more about self-advocacy using the method which works best for you.
Question for readers: If you have needed to self-advocate, what strategies did you use? I will return next week with another article.