Self-advocates are people who speak up for what they need and want.

Our friends at the Green Mountain Self-Advocates (GMSA) made a list of ways you can advocate for yourself. GMSA is a group for people with developmental disabilities to educate peers to take control over their own lives, make decisions, solve problems, and speak for themselves. Visit their website at

Ways to be a self-advocate

Getting to know yourself, being proud, and feeling strong

Getting to know the people around you, making friends

Learning new things, solving problems, making our case, and negotiating for what you want

Making your own decisions and knowing your responsibilities

Thinking of all the other civil rights movements and preserving your rights

Realizing you are not alone, that there are other people who are just like you

Being part of your community

Listening to people’s ideas and respecting their opinions

NOT judging people because of the way they look or speak

Meeting politicians and telling them like it is

Meeting politicians and telling them like it is

Spreading the word and getting others involved in self-advocacy, especially teens.

Helping others become leaders, feeling the power

Self-advocacy at work is important.

You need to make sure you employer gives you what you need. The first thing you will probably do is tell them about your disability. This is called disclosure. Read the lesson on disclosure now.

Once you learn about disclosure, we can talk about how you advocate for things you need to be successful on the work. This is called accommodations. Read that lesson after you read about disclosure.