Advocacy & Self Advocacy
Advocacy is essential in maintaining and improving the quality of life for people with intellectual disabilities. They may need the assistance of advocates in order to know, understand, and assert their rights, practice self-determination, practice self-protection, obtain needed services, identify and overcome barriers to discrimination in the community, and be protected from abuse and neglect.
Self-advocacy is speaking up for oneself. It means making one’s own choices in life, large and small and learning about one’s rights and responsibilities. It also means living the way one chooses and respecting the rights of others to do the same.
Please click on a resource link below for more information. For more tools to assist with advocacy, visit our Policy Tools page.
DPPC is the independent state agency responsible for protecting the health and safety of adults with disabilities from abusive acts and omissions of their caregivers. Telephone toll-free 1-800-426-9009 V/TTY 24 hours a day, seven days a week (including holidays) to report suspected instances of abuse.
The Commission was established as part of the final court order issued by Federal Chief Judge Joseph Tauro in May 1993, ending a 20–year-old class action lawsuit against the state of Massachusetts and specifically the Department of Developmental Services. The Commission is an independent citizen oversight body consisting of 13 members appointed by the Governor for a term of three years. Offers web resources and portal for feedback on policies affecting persons with intellectual disabilities.
(formerly Massachusetts Advocacy Center) A private non-profit organization dedicated to being an independent and effective voice for children who face significant barriers to equal educational and life opportunities. Programs include an Autism Special Education Legal Support Center, which operates a hotline (617-357-8431, ext. 234) that offers free advocacy assistance, referral, and answers to questions about educational rights of children on the autism spectrum.
A private, non-profit statewide organization for self-advocates with disabilities. Offers professional and peer information and referral services.
The state agency mandated with enforcing Massachusetts’ anti-discrimination laws. Investigates complaints of discrimination based upon disability, race, color, national origin, national ancestry, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, and criminal records.
The MDDC, a state agency funded by the Federal Administration on Developmental Disabilities, provides resources, information and grants aimed at enhancing the lives of persons with developmental disabilities living with Massachusetts.
A statewide, grassroots coalition of individuals with disabilities and/or chronic illnesses and their families. Provides information and assistance to families; provides leadership training; and has regular regional and statewide meetings for families and individuals living within Massachusetts.
A state agency providing advocacy and information services to individuals with disabilities who have experienced or are experiencing violations of their civil rights. As the Commonwealth’s Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Coordinating Agency, it provides guidance on public private responsibilities with regard to the ADA.
Provides information and guidance on the ADA, Section 508, and accessible information technology to individuals living in New England. Online resources include an extensive collection of publications offering information on the ADA and disability rights for individuals with disabilities, business owners, government officials, employers, school officials, law enforcement agencies, and others. Also maintains a toll-free V/TTY information line staffed by people who can answer your questions about the ADA and accessible IT.