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Self Advocacy Online: Empower & Connect

by Mary Mazzoni on May 16, 2013

A new website is connecting and empowering self advocates around the country.

Self Advocacy Online is a project of the Arc and The University of Minnesota’s Research and Training Center on Community Living.

The site is designed to be user-friendly for people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities. Self Advocacy Online empowers users with information and skills needed to speak up and take action toward their own goals. Its growing data base of local self advocacy groups helps users to connect in real life (IRL) as well as online.

Link below to the four components of Self Advocacy Online:

Learn About Self Advocacy

This section includes mini-modules on topics such as Speaking Up, Relationships, Getting Organized, and Living a Healthy Lifestyle.

The content of each topic is “chunked” into small segments – using short videos and text. Participants can set their own pace by clicking an arrow to proceed to the next segment or return to a previous one. When self advocates use this feature together, they can talk about each segment before moving on.

Stories from Self Advocates

Short videos of self advocates speaking their mind on various topics.

Research for All  

Graphics and simple words are used to describe the results of research studies on topics of interest to self advocates. In particular, this section looks at the relationship between self advocates and “direct service professionals” such as job coaches and community living support staff. Sometimes the abbreviation “DSP” is used to refer to these staff.

Find Advocacy Groups 

This is where users can search a database to find local and regional self advocacy groups. Since the site is new – many groups are not yet listed. You can contact the site to add local self advocacy groups that you know about.

Other Self Advocacy Resources

The Consumer Advisory Board of the California Department of Developmental Services has published a variety of Consumer-Friendly Self Advocacy Resources.

These materials use graphics and simple wording to support self advocates to plan and take action toward their own goals.

Use the links below to download free resources:

Other Self Advocacy Organizations

The links below will connect you to other self advocacy organizations that offer free resources:

You’ll find more self advocacy resources developed for youth by youth here and here.

Your turn

What resources and experiences have helped your son or daughter grow as a self advocate? Are there resources we haven’t mentioned that you’d like to share?

Please leave a comment below! Let’s learn together as our kids grow and connect as self advocates!

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Let’s continue to support our kids as they plan and take action toward the goals that matter most to them.

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