Self Advocacy—is knowing what you want, knowing what you do well and what you have difficulty doing. Self advocacy is knowing your rights and your needs and expressing that information to the appropriate person.

An effective self advocate must be able to determine the optimum time to make their request(s), recognize an adverse reaction to the request and/or determine if the person receiving the request understands the need and suggested solution. (Sands, D. J. & Doll, B. 1996 Fostering Self Determination is a Developmental Task, Journal of Special Education)

Good self advocacy empowers people and allows them access to reasonable accommodations and strategies. (Brinkckerhoff, 1994, and Weller, Watteyne, Herbert & Creely, 1994)

Becoming a good self advocate is a process. Ideally advocacy skills begin developing in middle school. As needs and focus change so should self advocacy skills.


The 411 on Disability Disclosure: A Workbook for Youth with Disabilities is designed for youth and adults working with them to learn about disability disclosure.