Being an effective self-advocate can be the difference between just surviving and living a life where you are thriving.  Speak up for yourself, make informed decisions, and learn about your rights and responsibilities.



What is a self advocate and why should you be one?
Check out what the National Collaborative on Workforce & Disability has to say. Here you can learn more about how becoming a self advocate is the first step in getting the life you want. Take the Am I Learning to Lead assessment to find out what areas you need to work on.


Join the council
YEAH Council
is a youth driven and directed group of individuals with disabilities and/or special health care needs. We are focused on developing and strengthening the skills and resources needed to achieve the unique independent life that we each desire. YEAH does this by empowering, educating and supporting individuals and professionals in the areas of education, advocacy and health care. Join us to learn more about your advocacy journey and how you can help others in the process.

Want to become more independent but not sure how to get started?
Try this tool developed by The YEAH Council. Its an easy to follow checklist developed to help youth and their families begin preparations for adulthood at an early age by setting goals and making plans for all levels of development. Ready-Set-Go-Final-10-2014
advocacy-resources6 Becoming a self advocate tip sheet
Developed by the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities. The It’s My Choice guide looks at ways that support freedom of choice for people with developmental disabilities by looking at individual needs, planning for services, evaluating services, making things more understandable and supporting self advocacy. Check out their Becoming a Self Advocate Tip Sheet.
advocacy-resources7 Get out to VOTE!
Advocacy means having a voice and using it. Being informed on legislation that may effect your rights is critical. Voting puts your beliefs and values into action. Before you vote in the next election, know the voting process in your State. These tips from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission examine the options available to help voters with disabilities vote privately and independently. Still not convinced on voting? Check out this video from the Oregon Council on Developmental Disabilities, Disability Rights Oregon and The Oregon Secretary of State. Your vote matters!
education-resources5 Attending your IEP meetings
School getting you down? Try attending one of your IEP meetings and becoming part of the team that plans your education. Your thoughts and opinions could make the difference in your education experience. But you’ll never know unless you get involved. Check out Tips for Teens: Use Your IEP Meetings to Learn How to Advocate for Yourself. Provided by The Pacer Center
askandtell Self advocacy and disclosure for ASD
Ask and Tell is a book written to help people with autism effectively self-advocate and make decisions on telling others about having ASD. You can borrow this book from the NHFV Lending Library. It’s free and you don’t have to leave your house! Just click on the Check out this book button, then click Place request and fill out the form. After you submit it, they will mail it out to you and you can mail it back in the paid envelope they provide. This service is only available to NH residents.

Knowing who you are
Being s self advocate means knowing yourself really well so that you can let the world know why you matter. Knowing yourself means knowing your awesomeness as well as your challenges and owning them. Here is a great example of a young woman who knows herself and can tell others why she matters so well that she recently spoke at TED talks.

Effective communication
The biggest key to becoming a good self advocate is COMMUNICATION. You can know all your rights and responsibilities, but if you can’t get your message across effectively – game over! Check out this video on effective communication for teens and young adults. For more information on effective communication, visit the Leadership & Life Skills page.
advocacy-resources10 More great advocacy resources developed by teens and young adults
KASA, or Kids As Self Advocates provides tons of resources to learn about advocacy, your rights, why they are important and the different ways to go about it.


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