Self Advocacy

Self advocacy is people speaking up for themselves, either about personal things or things that effect a majority of people. If people have a voice of their own they can learn to say what they want, comment on the services they use, talk about and campaign for change about the issues which are important to them advise on the creation and development of policies and services, etc.

People with learning disabilities are still discriminated against within society and so the need for self advocacy becomes even more important. In order for people with learning disabilities to become valued members of their communities and have all the same rights, they sometimes need the support of their peers and others to enable them to have a voice and give them confidence.

Speaking up is something that people with learning difficulties need support to learn to do and self advocacy groups are one way of enabling that to happen.

Self advocacy groups are for people with learning difficulties to meet and:

- Share their experiences

- Support each other

- Learn to speak up

- Find out about their rights

- Speak up to local services about what is important to them

- Learn to become independent and take responsibility for themselves

The facilitator’s role in a self advocacy group is to ensure the members have the tools, skills, opportunities and knowledge to advocate for themselves. The facilitator is directed by the identified needs of the members and is employed to either bring his/her experience, knowledge and skills to the group or bring in others that can help the members to self advocate.