We’ve posted a few blogs over the years describing what it
means to be a self-advocate and why self-advocacy is so important. Everyone can
be a self-advocate, but for people with intellectual and developmental
disabilities, becoming a self-advocate is even more important. People with
disabilities have unique needs, challenges, strengths, and abilities.
Self-advocates speak up about those challenges to drive positive change in
their lives and the lives of others with disabilities.
Of course, everyone can be a self-advocate on their own, but
there is power in numbers.
An organized movement of self-advocates
People First is a nationwide organization with numerous state chapters. Their goal? To provide a forum where self-advocates can organize and speak together about the issues most important to them.
“People First Wisconsin is a statewide self-advocacy organization for people with disabilities. By joining together in groups, individuals with disabilities learn to speak up for themselves, share ideas, friendships and information.” – People First Wisconsin
A place to take a stand
Along with providing a forum for people with disabilities to
speak up and share their ideas with each other, the organization also publishes
various position papers on the hot topics of the day that affect people with
intellectual and developmental disabilities. This is a powerful way for
self-advocates to bring their concerns and ideas to lawmakers, because simply
put, the more people you have supporting an idea, the more power you have.
Bringing the movement to life
One of the most effective ways People First and its partner
organizations advocate for people with disabilities is through the Self-Determination
YouTube Channel. The channel features regularly updated videos from four
outspoken self-advocates, who describe themselves as, “a group of
self-advocates with developmental or intellectual disabilities who believe
self-determination is essential to living our best life–the life we all
We strongly encourage anyone with an interest in
self-advocacy to subscribe to the Self-Determination channel and share their
videos far and wide!
People First Wisconsin is just one example of an
organization that is mobilizing self-advocates to advance positive change for
people with developmental disabilities. Click here to find a People First
chapter in your area.