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Students and Young Adults

Advocating for Myself

Learning how to advocate for yourself could help you at school, at your job and in your community. Advocating for yourself means knowing what your needs are and speaking up for yourself to get your needs met. It takes practice! To hear tips from other students with disabilities who have learned to advocate for themselves in high school, at work, and at college, watch the videos in the collection below.

Let’s Talk About Self-Advocacy

Self-Advocacy: Find the Captain in You

High school students Nathan and Justin host a morning talk show with special guest, Captain Self-Advocacy. Watch as Captain Self-Advocacy rescues a student who is struggling to participate in his own IEP team meeting. (9 min)

Marissa on School Accommodations

Are you struggling to get accommodations at school?  Marissa is a high school student with a disability. In this video, she explains how she used her support system and the IEP process to advocate for herself and get the help and support that she needed in one of her classes. (1 min)

Marissa on Communication at School

Marissa, a high school student with a disability, gives her advice how to communicate with other students and teachers about any problem you are having at school. (1 min)

Disability Resources: A Student Perspective

Matt, Hilary, Roberto, Amanda, Patrick, Luke, and Santana are all college students with different disabilities. In this video, they share their stories about how their disabilities have affected them in college and how they got help from the Disability Resources Office. They also give their advice for high school students about how to advocate for yourself. (6 min)

411 Disability Disclosure

Disclosing your disability is a very personal decision. It means making an informed decision when or if to tell someone about your disability. Your decision will affect you at school, at work, and in your social life. In this video, Nellie, Alex, Nick, and Mimi talk about how they made their own decisions to disclose their disabilities, and how it changed things for them. (4 min)

Jonathan Mooney on Lessons Learned

Jonathan is an adult with dyslexia who did not learn to read until he was 12 years old, and grew up to become an award-winning writer. He talks about how living with a disability has taught him two important lessons. First, being different does not mean that you are deficient. And second, you have to learn to ask for help and know that it is okay to get help. (4 min)

Additional Resources

  • Youth in Action! - Becoming a Stronger Self-Advocate
    Are you learning to speak up for yourself to tell people what you need and what you want?  Are you figuring out how to make more decisions in your life?  Are you wondering what you can do to keep improving your self-advocacy skills?  Click here for 4 easy steps you can take to become a stronger self-advocate!
  • I Know Me Workbook - What does person-centered mean for me?
    You know you better than anyone else!  But it takes practice to talk about what you want with confidence.  This workbook was created for you by the Minnesota Department of Human Services Disability Services Division (DSD).  Use this workbook to help you think about your life, your hopes and dreams, and what’s important to you.  Then, share your ideas with the people who support you, so that together you can plan the steps to reach your goals.  That’s self-advocacy!
  • Be Your Own Best Advocate
    What does it mean to advocate for yourself? Being your own advocate means that you ask for what you need while respecting the needs of others. Follow these simple steps to practice advocating for yourself, understand when to advocate for yourself, and find other organizations that can help you keep developing your self-advocacy skills.
  • Your IEP Meeting: A Great Place to Practice Self-Advocacy Skills
    Self-advocacy is a big part of becoming an adult, and it takes lots of practice! At first, you may feel nervous about going to your IEP team meeting and speaking up for yourself. Here are some ideas that will help you get ready and feel more confident.
  • Sample Self-Advocacy Plan
    The most important part of self-advocacy is learning to share information about yourself with others. Use this tool to help you figure out what information you want to share with your IEP team at your next IEP team meeting.