Self-awareness is generally the first step in self-advocacy. As you become an adult and seek independence, it is important to determine what is important to you. You can begin by determining what it is you need, speaking up for yourself and learning how to describe your needs and wants.
Know your rights. There are laws and regulations to provide guidance and clarification about what must be provided to you. A number of federal laws address accessibility and protect the rights of persons with disabilities. These laws cover access to a wide range of facilities and services, including housing, transportation, employment, telecommunications and voting. Knowing your rights under the laws, or complying with their requirements, means getting the right information from the proper source. Don’t be afraid to ask for help at navigating this process!
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was the initial legislation that gave individuals with special needs the right to get an education that would give them the best possible opportunity to learn. Students in special education are required by federal law to have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). For additional information, visit Disability Rights Florida:
Additional community resources: The Advocacy Center for Persons with Disabilities Inc. is a nonprofit organization providing protection and advocacy services in the State of Florida. The Center's mission is to advance the dignity, equality, self-determination and expressed choices of individuals with disabilities.
Learning Disability Association of America (LDA) is an organization of parents and professionals working to help students with disabilities succeed with a focus on prevention, early and effective intervention and a successful transition to adult life. The organization’s goals are to ensure that students with learning disabilities are well-represented in the State of Florida accountability system and school choice initiatives.