The Journey to Self Advocacy: Jonathan
The Alabama Council on Developmental Disabilities (ACDD) aims to support the independence and inclusion of people with developmental disabilities. Although ACDD offers a number of resources to help achieve this goal, their ultimate hope is that the Alabamians they serve become self advocates. Self advocacy is defined as successfully representing yourself, your beliefs, and your interests. You can take the resources that ACDD offers to help create an inclusive community for all people to work, play, live, and learn.
The first step on the journey to self advocacy is becoming informed. If you, your child, or a family member has a developmental disability, then you’re probably knowledgeable about the everyday struggles. What you may be less informed about is legislation that affects those with developmental disabilities. It’s not only important to know who your state legislator is, but also about bills that affect those with developmental disabilities.
Attend Conferences & Training Events
The next way that you can become a self advocate is by attending different activities that help develop the independence of those with developmental disabilities. Leadership conferences, public forums, and legislative skills training events are held by organizations specifically for those with developmental disabilities and their families. If you are eligible, ACDD offers reimbursement for some of the expenses associated with attending these types of events through the Consumer Involvement Fund (CIF).
Jonathan Peak’s whole life was a journey to self advocacy. His mother had polio as a child, resulting in an abnormal curvature of her spine. When Peak was in the process of being born, he suffered from nerve damage and a traumatic brain injury because of the force used to deliver him. Doctors told his family that he would live a difficult life because of his disability. His family decided instead to help Peak live a successful life. Today, he is the Advocacy Coordinator at the Montgomery Center for Independent Living.
Alabama Council on Developmental Disabilities Promotes Self Advocacy
If you’d like to learn more about becoming a self advocate, or about any of our other resources, get in touch with us.