Advocacy may be defined as the act or process of supporting something, such as a person, cause, or policy, and to act as an advocate for someone. Due to various barriers, people with disabilities may need to advocate for themselves so that they can live independently, participate in the community, and have access to education, employment, assistive technology (AT), healthcare, and the services that they need, among others. Families also may advocate for their loved ones with disabilities. Service providers, social workers, and organizations may advocate for people with disabilities, as well. Advocacy may lead to new interventions or technology, improved physical or program access, greater economic opportunity, and even new laws that protect the rights of people with disabilities. For example, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which just celebrated its 32nd anniversary, came about because people with disabilities and their allies advocated and fought for their rights.
NARIC’s information specialists are often asked for resources and information from people with disabilities, their families, caregivers, and service providers related to advocacy, including advocacy organizations in their area, self-advocacy and what that entails, and how to advocate for others, among other topics. This month, we are highlighting evidence-based consumer products from the NIDILRR community for self-advocates with disabilities, their families, and service providers, which may include guides, calendars, factsheets, and more.
Below, you will find just a few examples of evidence-based consumer products on advocacy produced by the NIDILRR community:
- The National Center for Disability and Pregnancy Research (NCDPR) is a cross-disability initiative to address gaps in knowledge about pregnancy and disability, enhance the experience of pregnancy in women with disabilities, and promote optimal pregnancy-related outcomes for pregnant people with disabilities. As part of their work, the researchers at the NCDPR create evidence-based advocacy products for people with disabilities who wish to become pregnant, are pregnant, or have had their baby. These products include a study on self-advocates with intellectual and developmental disabilities and self-advocacy tips for pregnant people with physical disabilities.
- NARIC’s Research In Focus series looks at the results of NIDILRR-funded research on a variety of topics, including advocacy. For example, Latina Family Caregivers in Rural Areas Turn to Their Community to Support Young Adults with Disabilities in Transition discusses a NIDILRR-funded study from the project Assessing Family Employment Awareness Training. Researchers wanted to find out what factors helped or hindered the caregiver’s involvement in their children’s transition planning. They found several common themes in the participants experiences, including the importance of family, strained school relationships, language and citizenship challenges, and the importance of Latino community connections. The authors suggest that school and agency personnel should consider supporting these families by providing culturally responsive services and building strong partnerships with local Latino community leaders to enhance trust and advocacy for Latino families. This article is also available in Spanish.
- Two resources from the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Promoting Interventions for Community Living give self-advocates the tools and experience to make changes at home and in the community. The Home Usability Program teaches individuals with disabilities to self-assess and improve the usability of their homes. Out and About teaches participants to set goals for community participation and solve problems related to barriers in the community, such as inaccessible transportation or lack of access to health care. Out and About also builds social networks by using peer support in the pursuit of participants’ goals.
- The Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Learning and Working During the Transition to Adulthood focuses its research and development on young people with mental health conditions and the transition from school to work. Among the many information products on their website, visitors will find the factsheet on How to Speak Up and Be Heard: Self-Advocacy.
- NARIC’s Librarian’s Picks are full of resources for people with disabilities, older adults, their families and friends, and service providers, among others. Topics include advocacy, aging, and independent living. NARIC’s reSearch series shares research from the NIDILRR community and elsewhere in the community, including an issue on advocacy.
To learn more about these and other products from the NIDILRR community, contact NARIC’s information specialists.
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Thank you so much for reblogging this!