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self advocacey

As an individual with disabilities, one of the most important skills I learned was how to be an advocate. This means the ability to stand up for yourself and others to protect our equal rights. It is an important lesson to learn because we are the guardians of our own rights.

I consider my self a self-advocate, something I have done for years from school to adult life. It is second nature to me. Both the Americans With Disabilities Act and state law require public and private establishments to provide reasonable accommodations to a disabled individual so long as it does not pose an undue hardship. The first step is to know what the disability issues are and what accommodations are needed. These needs will vary widely based on each person’s disability and the degree to which it affects them.

The next step is to educate yourself on disability laws and protected rights such as the ADA. A good advocate has excellent communication and listening skills. It is also important to keep good records while becoming a master at negotiating. In order to promote positive change through activism we must work together while respecting one another.

Another point is to know what your recourse is if you are denied a reasonable accommodation. These options can range from informal discussions with the other party, mediation, filing charges with anti-discrimination agencies, or as a last resort, legal action.

Self-advocacy is learned through life experiences. It helps us understand ourselves while becoming aware of our needs. There is no better feeling than being able to speak up for yourself or others to make a positive impact.

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This entry was posted on Sunday, June 1st, 2014 at 11:44 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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