For a very long-time as people with intellectual disabilities we felt we did not have any rights and felt powerless. We were locked away in institutions or put into group homes and not listened to.
People with an intellectual disability were often bullied and abused.
In the 1970’s people with intellectual disabilities joined together to start the first self advocacy group and soon there were self advocacy groups all over the world.
Self advocacy groups began to stand up and speak out about our rights. We wanted to live in our own homes, to go to a good school, get a paid job, feel safe and be treated the same as anyone else.
Self advocacy gives us a voice to be able to stand up and be heard by government, communities and services. That voice is important because without it how do you know what we want and need?
Self advocacy gives us the power to be in control of our own destiny. Self advocates make change happen and give people the power to stand up and be counted.
It gives us the opportunity to empower other people with an intellectual disability to be able to do the same things as we are doing. An important slogan for people with an intellectual disability is “Nothing About Us Without Us.”
Self advocacy groups give us the opportunity to have friends and we support each other in times of need.
Self advocacy is really important for parents with an intellectual disability because . . . .
“It’s important for people with intellectual disability to have a voice and to be able to discuss issues.”
For people with intellectual disability self advocacy matters because:
“We have the same rights as anybody else. We can make our own decisions.”