Friday, September 13, 2013

Advocacy 101: The History of Advocacy

Much too often, a person who experiences a disability is seen only for that disability.  Looking back, the past was not kind to those who were considered different in any manner. For many, discrimination increased due to a lack of exposure to those with differences, simply because they were separated from their community.  Segregation kept people with disabilities apart from people without disabilities.  Due to this separation, people with disabilities are often seen as 'another kind of people'. 

According to the United States Congress (in PL. 101-136: The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990):
Historically, society has tended to isolate and segregate individuals with disabilities, and, despite some improvements, such forms of discrimination against individuals with disabilities continue to be a serious and pervasive social problem.
As much as we would like to deny it, discrimination and seclusion still occur in society today.  Padded school cells, isolation in self-contained classrooms, medical institutions with no option to thrive, selective or zero employment options are no future for any human being!  If the future is to change, it is very important that we are aware of and acknowledge what happened in the past and take appropriate steps towards positive change in the future. 

Partners in Time is a FREE online self-study course that explores society's treatment of people with developmental disabilities from ancient times until today.  I highly recommend taking this course to fully understand the historical significance of each change and movement that has occurred to those with disabilities.  It will surprise you how far we've come, but we still have a long way to go. 

Smart Apps for Special Needs Advocacy 101 will help give you the tools to get there.  What we ask in return is to share (via facebook, twitter, email, blog, etc.) any post that you think would help benefit another person.  There may be a friend of a friend who is in desperate need of help, but is afraid to ask.  They may feel all alone in the world.  You can help by sharing our posts and give that mother, father, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, grandma, grandpa, friend or self-advocate a little guidance in a very difficult world.  YOU ARE THE KEY towards the change needed in the disability community!!  You are the ADVOCATES OF THE FUTURE!!!

What is an advocate exactly?  An advocate is 1) a person who speaks or writes in support or defense of a person, cause, etc, or 2) a person who pleads for or in behalf of another; intercessor (per  A self-advocate is responsible for doing these things for themselves.  It is extremely important for anyone who experiences a disability to have an advocate.  It could be a family member, or teacher, or a social worker, but honestly, the best advocate is the person who knows them best and is willing to fight for them and their rights.  The person with a disability will soon learn by example and become an effective self-advocate for themselves.  
It is incredibly helpful for us to know who you are advocating for and what your relationship to them is (parent, grandparent, students, self-advocate, etc.)!!  It will help us better serve your needs if you keep an open dialog with us.  Please help this series be successful and comment with ANY question or concern you may have.  Go ahead...introduce yourself and state your advocacy relationship within the disability community.

If you are interested in completing Partners in Policymaking in your area, Click Here, to find a location close to you. Available in the USA, N. Ireland, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, Scotland, England, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom.

Leslie M. has a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice (Forensics) with a minor in Psychology.  She is also 2012 graduate of Partners in Policymaking (PIP) Oregon.  She has a young son who experiences a disability and tries to be the best advocate on the planet for him.  PIP was an intense education course that helped provide many different areas of focus for the students and self-advocates, alike.  We all walked into class the first day as strangers with something in common; We left as family with a united vision!

All information listed in this series, unless otherwise specified, was referenced with information provided by the Oregon Council on Developmental Disabilities (OCDD) Partners in Policymaking (PIP) program. 

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