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How to become a Good Self-Advocate!

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Presentation on theme: "How to become a Good Self-Advocate!"— Presentation transcript:

1 How to become a Good Self-Advocate!
My Opinion Counts! How to become a Good Self-Advocate! Hello, my name is (NAME) and today we are going to talk about being a good self-advocate. It is really important to learn to speak up for yourself, to get the services and accommodations that you need. Life is about choices, and you want to make your own!

2 We All Want the Same Things
People with disabilities should be treated as equals. People should be given the same decisions, choices, rights, responsibilities, and chances to speak up and empower themselves. People should be able to make new friendships and renew old friendships just like everyone else. People should be able to learn from their mistakes like everyone else. - SABE beliefs The Self Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE is the United State's national self-advocacy organization. This is what they believe in. Do you?

3 What is Self-Advocacy? 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 Do you see yourself doing this? You should, YOU know what is best for YOU!

4 What exactly does self-advocacy mean?
• Speaking up for yourself • Communicating your strengths, needs and wishes • Being able to listen to the opinions of others, even when their opinions differ from yours 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 It means taking the responsibility for communicating one’s needs and desires in a straightforward manner to others. It is a set of skills that includes:

5 Becoming a good self advocate is a process.
Learn to identify your strengths Understand your disability and how it impacts your performance. Familiarize yourself with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehab Act Know when and how to ask for help We are going to talk about each of these steps.#1means you know what your strengths are, you know that you are worthwhile, and are willing to take good care of yourself. What things you do well, what you are comfortable doing, what works for you. Once you identify these strengths you can start working on other strengths that you feel you need. #2 Knowing your disability and how it affects you, helps you identify areas that you may need support #3 Know and understand the protections these laws do and do not provide #4 We all need help at some point, knowing when and how will help you effectively get what you need.

6 Learn to Identify Your Strengths
Believe in Yourself Access Appreciate Support Improve The first step to become an effective self-advocate is to believe in yourself. Believing in yourself means you are aware of your strengths, know that you are worthwhile, and are willing to take good care of yourself. Access: Access yourself and list all your good qualities and start building from there. We all have times when our self-esteem is down, but we can get past that. Appreciate yourself. Give yourself credit for all the good things you do and the talents (which are strengths) that you do have. Support: Supporting your well being is taking stock of what you already do to help yourself and you do it well. To ask for what you need and want and to protect yourself when others treat you badly, you will need to support your self-worth. Improve, means thinking about things you need to improve on, list them and decide what and how you can do that.

7 Understand Your Disability and How it Impacts Your Performance
Know your disability and be able to talk comfortably about it What services do you need? What accommodations do you use/need? How does the lack of services and accommodations impact your everyday life? Your job performances? No one can every truly understand what your disability is like for you. Not even someone who has the same disability, because all of us view it differently and accept or refuse to accept some of the limitations. Our personalities and our sense of self-worth dictates how we view the disability. Now you understand why it is important to keep up your self esteem? You need to be able to talk about the services and accommodations you need. For the agencies providing the services and accommodations, or elected official who could help get a law passed, you have to be able to justify that the monies and time they put into it will be well spent.

8 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehab Act
It is important that you understand what you are entitled to (or not) under these two Acts. The ADA: Section 504:

9 Know When and How to Ask for Help
Get the facts Plan your strategy Gather support Target your efforts Ask for what you want Debrief Get the facts: When you speak up for yourself, you need to know what you are talking about. You need to gather information and make sure the information you have is accurate. Plan your strategy: Now that you know what you want and you have information about it, what do you think is your best strategy for getting what you want or for achieving your goal? What steps would you need to take? You may want to set a timeline and even small goals to achieve by certain dates. You may want to think of several ways to address the problem in case one way doesn't work out. Gather support: It is easier and usually more effective to work on getting what you want and need for yourself if you have the support of one or several friends, family members, or health care providers. You may even want to start or join a group of people with issues similar to yours such as a self-help or peer support group. Target your efforts: Who do you need to deal with to get action on this matter? Talk directly with the person or people who can best assist you. It may take a few phone calls to discover which organization, agency, or person can help, and to find who is in charge, but it is worth the effort. Keep trying until you find the right person. Ask for what you want: Make an appointment to see the person or people who can help you get what you want. Dress neatly and be on time for the appointment. When you are asking for what you want and need, be brief and concise. Say what you need to say as clearly and with as few words as possible. Give only the information that the other person needs. Explain why you need it. Tell them why it is in their best interest to respond to your request. Speak loudly enough to be heard, without shouting. Expect a positive response. Plan ahead of time what points you need to make. Practice with the help of friends, tape recorders, or mirrors if you feel unsure of yourself. Listen to the other person's response. If you don't understand, ask questions for clarification. At the end of the meeting, restate any action that has been decided upon so you both understand each other clearly. Send a follow-up note, thanking them for meeting with you and summarizing any agreed- upon action. This will be a reminder and provide assurance that you both have the same understanding of the result of the meeting. Don't take "no" for an answer. Be firm and persistent. Debrief: After your appointment, arrange to meet a friend so you can tell someone what happened. It will help reduce your stress and keep you feeling well. Be sure to write down what the next steps are to resolve the issues that may still be outstanding after the appointment.

10 Knowledge is the key to self-advocacy
Knowledge is the key to self-advocacy. Like anything else, the more you know, the better you understand, and the easier it is to explain. This journey of self-education is an ongoing process, as individual needs change over time. There are three parts to becoming an effective self-advocate: knowing yourself, knowing your needs, and knowing how to get what you need.

11 -SAMHSA - Mary Ellen Copeland
AFFIRMATION I am a unique and valuable person. I am worth the effort it takes to advocate for myself, to get what I want and need for myself, to protect my rights and to insist that others treat me well. -SAMHSA - Mary Ellen Copeland Our self-esteem is not always high, so it is good to keep affirming our belief in ourselves. We all have good days as well as bad, but keep this affirmation in mind when you get down on yourself. We all need to give ourselves pep talks

12 You Are the best ADVOCATE
for YOU!! Thank you!

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