You know the saying, "you're never to old to learn something new?" This I believe is true, A person can always learn something new. Here's one skill in my opinion that everyone should learn and that would be self advocacy. This term mostly falls into place with people who have disabilities but anyone can learn from this skill!
What is self advocacy?
Self advocacy is acting of speaking up for yourself, fighting for your rights and to represent one's actions to improve your quality of life, effect personal change, or correct inequalities. Self advocacy can be referred to as the ability to articulate one’s needs and make informed decisions about the supports necessary to meet those needs.
Why is self advocacy needed?
Coming from a person who is disabled for example someone who is on the autistic spectrum, Sometimes communication can be very difficult, and during childhood the parents have probably been advocating for child by making all of their decisions for him or her. However as individuals with autism age, they will need to advocate for themselves to the best of their ability. Which can be anyone from children, adolescents and even adults. Everyone needs help to develop a sense of self will aid in the transition process and will develop a skill that will benefit them throughout their lives.
What would be classified as the right to be fought for?
Well this really isn't a hard question, it could be anything you that would be identified as important, For example:
- The choice to vote
- The choice to have a relationship
- The ability to have a job,intern, or volunteer
- The ability to go to college
- The ability to afford proper housing
- The ability to have transportation
- The ability to have free speech and also think and feel
- The ability to have privacy
- The ability to have healthcare
- The ability to feel safe and protected
- To be treated as equals
Why are self advocacy groups needed?
There are self advocacy groups in existence and they are aren't hard to find, with the help of the self advocacy websites like this one. If you'd like to visit other self websites I recommend looking into these.
- The Autistic Self Advocacy Network
- Parenting Autistic Children with Love and Acceptance
- Self advocacy online.org
These groups are important because they are used to address an advocate's benefits and to stand up for not only themselves but also for the group. It also gives whomever the chance to meeting new people who care about each other and share the same interests and issues. Another important key factor about these groups is one simple thing: Strength in numbers! The bigger the group the more people will support each other, sharing ideas, and help each other to accomplish goals. The best way to spread awareness of groups are to have social gatherings like fundraisers.
I hope this has helped you understand what self advocacy is, I told you learning a new skill wouldn't be so hard, and thank goodness it's an important one!