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.
The Arc provides basic and advanced legislative advocacy trainings throughout the year. The training focuses on understanding the DDS and Masshealth budget and how these budgets support people with I/DD and autism. Participants learn about the budget cycle and critical advocacy time frames, and specifically how to best engage their legislator to be a strong voice for the priorities of our community. The training also breaks down the process of passing legislation – from filing the bill to the Governor’s desk for signature. Individuals can learn about line items, legislation, and policy issues important to their family and how to find support through The Arc and other advocacy organizations. For more information or to schedule a Legislative Advocacy Training – contact Maura Sullivan, Director of Government Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org
More information coming soon. | email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
More information coming soon.
Advocates for Autism of Massachusetts was formed in 2004 to address the need for public advocacy on behalf of individuals, families and professionals who have or deal with people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) which also encompasses Asperger’s Syndrome and high-functioning Autism. The organization provides an important arena for mobilizing those of us who deal with ASD in our day-to-day lives as the most eloquent and persuasive spokespeople for our concerns. Our efforts focus not only on the State House but also on towns and city halls that also have responsibility for service delivery and funding. | http://www.afamaction.org/index.html
A national non-profit national and international organization. Promotes progressive policies, sound research, effective practices, and universal human rights for people with intellectual disabilities. Online resources and information. | https://aaidd.org
The Federation is a non-profit organization providing information and services for parent advocates and parent organizations involved with children with special needs. Publications include a detailed Parent’s Guide to Special Education
, written in collaboration with the Massachusetts Department of Education. | http://www.fcsn.org/
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. | http://massadvocates.org/
A private, non-profit statewide organization for self-advocates with disabilities. Offers professional and peer information and referral services. | https://ma-advocates.org/
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. | https://www.mass.gov/orgs/massachusetts-developmental-disabilities-council
The premiere resource for Down Syndrome information, advocacy, and networking in Massachusetts. | http://mdsc.org
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. | https://mfofc.org/