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Self-Advocacy and Self-Determination

Self-advocacy involves speaking up for oneself and one’s wants, needs, and interests. Self-determination describes the ability to make decisions for oneself. Self-advocacy and self-determination are important and empowering skills for anyone, but especially for people with disabilities. 

Self-Advocacy Information 

This article from Special Needs Planning explains self-advocacy and gives tips for parents to teach their children self-advocacy skills. 

The Autism Society of North Carolina has a page for self-advocates and a blog post about how people with autism can advocate for themselves. 

Understood has an article about the importance and benefits of self-advocacy. 

The PACER Center has an action sheet for parents to help their children become good self-advocates. 

The Center for Parent Information and Resources has a page on best practices in self-advocacy skill-building. 

Great Schools offers information about self-advocacy skills en español


Self-Determination Information 

The PACER Center’s Transition and Employment page has information and resources on self-determination for young people with disabilities. 

The University of Nevada’s College of Education has an article about self-determination and simple ways to incorporate choice into your child’s life. 

You Can Teach Me has an article with information about the history of self-determination as a fundamental right for children with disabilities in the education system. 


Self-Advocacy Groups and Organizations 

Self-Advocacy Online has a search tool to help you find a self-advocacy group to join in your area. 

The Triangle Self-Advocacy Network has monthly meetings in Chapel Hill and Raleigh and is a community program of the Arc. Information about this group is near the bottom of the Arc’s Community Programs page. 

The Autistic Self-Advocacy Network is a group based in DC that seeks to represent the autistic community in national conversations about disability rights. 

Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered is a national organization with representative members from every state that supports equal rights for people with disabilities.