Self Advocacy Tips

Self advocacy is much like speaking up for yourself.

The best way to be your own advocate is to practice.

To advocate for yourself effectively in the process, you need to think about...

Advocacy Points Possible Questions
Define what you need Do I really need this?
Know what your rights are What do the rules say about this?
Know your responsibilities What do I have to do?
Know the system and procedures What are the steps in this process?
Know your resources Who can help me, and who makes decisions?
Keep good records Do I need this in writing?

As a client of DRS, you should expect to:

  • Be treated with courtesy and respect
  • Be informed about the services, the process and your responsibilities
  • Understand the decisions your counselor makes
  • Receive responses to your questions in a timely manner.

Self-Advocacy Skills

  • Be an active participant in the process
  • Clearly express what your needs are
  • Set realistic goals for what you want to achieve
  • Get enough information to make informed choices
  • Get information about other resources
  • If necessary, have an advocate, family member, or friend at  meetings
  • If you have difficulty contacting your counselor, ask to speak to their coordinator
  • If your call is not responded to in a timely manner, or if it is an emergency, ask to speak to the supervisor
  • If you feel you are not being responded to, writing a letter may be an effective way to communicate
  • Keep a folder of all program materials, service plans, and correspondence.
  • Take notes when you attend meetings and document all phone calls.
  • Any agreed upon service plan or equipment should be put in writing.