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Self Advocacy

Self advocacy refers to people who speak up for themselves and their peers.   It is about having the right to make life decisions without undue influence or control by others. People with disabilities are often rendered powerless. Those with intellectual disabilities are more likely to live in institutions or group homes where they have little control over the rhythm of their lives, are likely to feel lonely, be unemployed or underemployed, and have fewer opportunities to be married or have children. Self advocacy for people with psychiatric or medical disabilities is referred to as self-empowerment or patient empowerment and encourages people to take an active role in their own care and support, whether that is recovery oriented or making decisions at the end of one’s life to choose palliative hospice care rather than continue efforts to cure.  HSRI – over the more than 3 decades since its inception – has worked directly with people with disabilities to support their organizations, to provide information (through such vehicles as The Riot), to include them in the design of participant research, and to provide guides for their inclusion in policy making bodies.