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People Taking Responsibility for Advocacy in their own Lives

Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered April 10, 2012 Facilitated by Max Barrows

Presenters Ryan Duncanwood California Bryon Murray Utah Chaqueta Stuckey South Carolina Clint Perrin New York Anne Fracht Massachusetts Eric Treat Arkansas .

Hmmm…. are you really in charge? Many peer leaders do an excellent job speaking up for others but are reluctant to ask for support to make changes in their own lives. you may be surprised at what you see. This presentation will include stories from peer leaders who have found ways to deal with this issue. But when you take a closer look. .who is the boss in your life? It is amazing how many self-advocates lead the way by speaking up to legislators and serving on boards. When it comes to your life.

1.  When I got services. I felt overpowered by the agencies. I didn’t know who I was. .  When people look at me with my disability. Could you share a time in your life where you were hesitant to speak up for yourself?  Individual Education Plan (IEP) meetings in high school.  I was scared about my support staff. they think I don’t know anything.  Asking for an accommodation on the job from the Boss.

it was hard to be taken seriously by the other cops. Tell me about a time you felt really frustrated. . or uncomfortable while speaking up for yourself. because of my disability.  When I ran for the SABE Board.  Asking my parents for more freedom riding my bike into town by myself.  When I worked in law enforcement. that was frustrating. the state DD director didn’t believe it when I got home.2.  Speaking in meetings where there are lots of professionals present.

3. . Why is it easier sometimes to just continue to let other people make decisions for you?  Because it takes more energy to disagree. you don’t have to take the time or effort.  I fear that what I say will come back negatively  It’s easier to not go through the hassle  People argue with you because they think they know best  Because you don’t need to think about it.  I hate having conflicts with people in general.

Who has made decisions for you that could otherwise have been made for yourself?  Parents  Teachers  Work supervisors  Disability Professionals  Self-Advocacy group Advisors  Other family members  Support workers .4.

 Feeling uncomfortable about how people may react to what you ask for.” . I didn’t feel like they listened to me.  The agencies felt like they had control over you. go by it. What makes it hard to ask for what you want in these meetings?  Sometimes it is hard to know exactly what you want. What about team meetings where you have a place at the table.5.  The process of asking for things for myself. it’s just hard. They had the power and said: “This is the plan.

. or are you worried about how you see yourself? Or both?  When meeting with professionals.  I worry about both.  When I work with legislators.6. and how I see myself (low self esteem). it is sometimes challenging to speak up for what I want. they think I don’t know what I am talking about. Where is the pressure coming from when it’s hard to speak up for yourself? Are you worried about how other people may see you. I worry about how what I say may be heard. because I feel stuck between pleasing my friends and myself. (I want to sound like I belong there).  I am worried more about how I say things and how people hear it.  When I plan a night out with friends. how others see me.  From inside the group. your peers: you are afraid of what might happen if you speak out.

 Pushing through. when I am not sure. I tell myself that “I need to do it. and about the people I’m going to talk with. the place where you are taking risks)?  I listen to my body to cue me toward a direction.  Accepting who I am and what my disabilities are. How have you overcome those barriers? So.  I educate myself by reading and studying a lot about the issues. and sometimes parents. how do you move out of your “comfort zone” (the place that is stress free and feels comfortable) and into your “courage zone” (the place where change and growth can happen.  Talking to other people. such as peers mentors.” . learning more about TBI.7.  Going to leadership trainings.

.  I try to tell myself that I am not responsible for other people’s response to me.  Having the right supports really helps.8. try to see why you might be getting that feedback. it won’t get done. How do you deal with fear of rejection or criticism if you speak up for yourself?  Try not to get stuck in your head by just thinking in circles.  I try to push myself and face it.  I get away to think about it. that if I don’t do it.  Try not to view criticism as only negative. try to regroup.

2012.The National Resource & Information Center Website: www. April ) to request materials! .org Information & Referral Call Center: 1-855-828-8476 SPECIAL WEBINAR: Tuesday. EDT From Numbers to Action: Understanding the New Autism Prevalence Estimates & How YOU Can Help Families Take Action PowerPoint/Recording: Email Phuong (pnguyen@autismnow.autismnow. 2:00-3:00 PM.