Strength Through Self-Advocacy
When I first learned about self-advocacy, it truly saved my life. I know that might sound silly, because self- advocacy isn’t medicine that will save you from an illness. However, if it wasn’t for self -advocacy, I wouldn’t be able to speak up for myself.
I grew up in a family where I got chances to make the “small” choices, like what to wear and what to eat. I feel very lucky, because some of my friends are never able to make those kinds of decisions. However, because of my disability, I wasn’t able to make the “big" decisions - you know, where to live, what to do for a job, and who to live with. When I started to learn about self-advocacy, all that changed, and I was the “boss”.
My friend, Pat, was there. She listened to me as well as helped me to speak for myself. There were many times I just yelled, “I can’t do this ... I will get in trouble”
It was very hard to be the boss. It was scary at the same time.
Even though my parents were supportive of me, like most parents, they listened to doctors and professionals, so when I started to use my voice, my mother especially didn’t know how to deal with this. There was a period of time both of us couldn’t talk to each other, not because we didn’t know what to say, we just didn’t want give the other person the power, to say… I want this, or I need to do this. However, not everyone has a friend like Pat, who LISTENS. If you don’t have a friend like Pat, CQL will listen to you. They have a tool that’s called, the Personal Outcome Measures®.
Thank you CQL.
This blog post was authored by Liz Weintraub, CQL Quality Enhancement Specialist and Advocacy Specialist for AUCD. Liz will also be presenting on the session topic, 'Quality: It Starts and Ends With The Person,' at the 2015 CQL Conference, 'Outcomes: The Gateway To Quality.' The conference is focused on person-centered approaches to supports and services, and how they can be strengthened through the use of outcomes.