Empower people to live the lives they want.
People with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) have the right to speak or act on their own behalf and alongside other people with disabilities, whether the issue is individual or related to broader public policy. Self-advocates provide important knowledge, experience, and skills that individuals, organizations, and government agencies need in order to effectively support the needs of and enhance the lives of people with IDD.
Self-advocacy is not the same as advocacy for people with IDD. Self-Advocacy is led by and for people with IDD. It is about civil rights and supporting people in speaking up for themselves in order to bring about changes in policies, attitudes, and opportunities. The self-advocacy movement has been critically important in supporting people with IDD and creating a greater impact on their own situations and on the public policies that affect them.
Our self-advocacy program supports Oklahomans with IDD and helps them to develop the skills they need to speak and act for themselves. Through a variety of local self-advocate groups, we help facilitate individuals with IDD working together to learn about taking charge of their lives, fighting discrimination, making decisions and choices, and becoming more independent.
Individuals learn to stand up for their rights, to choose their own friends and decide whether to have a job in the community instead of working in a sheltered workshop or activity center. They may want support from an advocate when they ask to be treated just like everyone else, or to receive the services they need to live as independently as possible.
- People First: a self-advocacy group run by, and for, Oklahomans with IDD. Local chapters in Broken Arrow and Tulsa feed into the state chapter of Oklahoma People First. Contact Steve at SPitts@TheArcOK.org.
- DayMakers: Two separate activity groups for adults with developmental disabilities. Each group meets weekly, one in Broken Arrow and one in Tulsa. Contact Steve at SPitts@TheArcOK.org.
- Links: A support and social skills group for adults with high-functioning autism. Monthly gatherings are designed to help participants build positive social skills as well as enjoy a variety of fun activities. Contact Steve at SPitts@TheArcOK.org.