Topic #1: Basic Self-Advocacy
Self-Advocacy 101: The basics about what it means to be a self-advocate.
How to advocate for yourself and what to expect in the process.
Self-advocacy as a movement.
How to effectively advocate for system change and equality.
Youth Leadership Series: A series developed from the Advocating Change Together (ACT) resource, “Tools for Change.” Each of the four modules can be presented independently or as part of the whole series.
“Know Your Rights” uses an interactive style to walk the self-advocate through a few of the most important laws that affect individuals with disabilities: Section 504, IDEA, and ADA. Activities give the audience a chance to work together and even get out in the community to see first-hand how these laws have changed the society in which we live. The segment, “Changing Attitudes,” is a brief summary of the history that individuals with disabilities have endured.
“Moral, Medical, and Civil Rights Models” introduces negative attitudes, stereotypes, and the People First Movement. Activities and role plays reinforce the idea that individuals with disabilities are regular people and explore how society must modify the way it operates.
“Self-Advocacy” promotes assertive communication versus talking in a passive or aggressive way. It explores body language and how feelings can affect the way one advocates. After “Dignity of Risk” and “Self-Determination” are introduced, an activity presents a recipe for success.
“Leadership” introduces what it takes to be a leader and Ed Roberts as a powerful role model for leaders with disabilities. There is a short summary of the other modules in this series, a list of the qualities of a leader, and an outline and activity for getting results when you make plans and take action for change.
Working Together as One (Self-Advocacy for Middle School): Introduces self-advocacy to middle school students.Students learn about their rights and resources by playing games and doing role plays around self-advocacy.
Teen Advocacy: Presentation and interactive games get high school students thinking about their rights, options, and resources regarding disability rights and self-determination.
Daily Living for Self-Advocates: How the Americans with Disabilities Act applies in workplace and social service settings.
Bullying, harassment, and what they look like in adult settings.
People's rights, who is supposed to provide them, and what those rights look like in real life.
Who you can talk to if your rights are being violated and ways to effectively communicate with others.
The audience uses real life situations to practice effectively advocating for their rights.
Presenters discuss their own goals and how the audience can be successful in the workplace, with the social services system, and in life.
Topic #2: Disability Awareness for All
Disability Awareness: For those who want a better understanding of the needs and abilities of people with disabilities.
Challenges the idea that people are simply disability labels and asks the audience to look at who people really are outside of a label.
How different people look at disabilities in different ways. Disability does not mean less than and is not simply limited to a small group of people.
Going beyond stereotypes and treating people with disabilities with respect and understanding.
Uses personal stories and interactive activities.
Human Rights: Developed from the handbook of the Harvard Project on Disability, covers respect for individuals with disabilities, inclusion in the community, societal change, assertive communication, and speaking up with power.
I Am Unique: All people deserve respect no matter what differences they might have. Everyone has things in common including goals, but we don’t always give people an equal chance to achieve them.
Role play and history lessons show how we often discriminate against people simply because they are different than us.
Examines why we discriminate against people who have differences.
Dispels the myth that differences can be dangerous by showing that everyone has differences and that society’s stereotypical “normal” person does not exist.
Shows how to respond to not being treated equally such as getting support, advocating for oneself, and promoting people first language.
We’re Grown Ups Now: Teaches parents and professionals why it is important to treat people with disabilities like adults, not children. The issue is not that parents and caregivers do not care about the people with disabilities in their lives, but it’s hard to give up control.
Interactive examples explain that overprotecting people with disabilities can negatively impact their feelings and independence.
Concrete ways in which people with disabilities need to become independent: running a house, using transportation, finding employment, and keeping meaningful social relationships.
Parents and caregivers get a better idea how they can help people achieve meaningful independence as well as explain their hopes, dreams, and fears. Individuals with disabilities then talk about their hopes, dreams, and fears. Encourages a dialogue between people with disabilities, their parents and their caregivers. It allows parents to place themselves in the shoes of a person with a disability in a safe environment while also allowing them to work through their feelings.
Encouraged for anyone curious about helping people with disabilities achieve greater independence or curious why independence is so important for people with disabilities.
Understanding Hidden Disabilities: Challenges stereotypical ideas of disabilities. Demonstrates that many disabilities cannot be seen, and the majority of people with disabilities have hidden disabilities.
Covers symptoms of hidden disabilities.
Uses the lives of people with hidden disabilities to spark a discussion about what life is like for them and others with hidden disabilities.
Discusses strategies to deal with hidden disabilities and conflict.
Hidden Disabilities: Covers specific hidden disabilities including Mental Health Issues, Deaf or Hard of Hearing, Seizure Disorders, Brain Injury and Autism.
Explains that disabilities are normal, and how to ask questions about a hidden disability.
Includes advice on what to do and not to do if someone is going through a seizure, attempting to communicate with someone who is deaf or hard of hearing, dealing with someone who is agitated, and communicating with someone with autism.
Challenges some basic myths while giving people a broad, personalized understanding of these disabilities.
Video of individuals who live with these hidden disabilities.
Topic #3: Advanced Self Advocacy and Systems Change
Boards and Committees: Learn what skills are necessary to sit on a board or committee. Many self-advocates have been asked to participate in community programs once they have developed leadership skills.
Educating Health Professionals: For healthcare professionals who want to better understand how to communicate with their patients with disabilities, or even their patients in general. Promotes patient self-determination, patient responsibility, and collaboration with patients as a critical part of effective healthcare.
Listening and communicating in a way that the patient can understand.
Best ways that doctors can help their patients feel prepared for their visits.
List of common mistakes made by healthcare professionals when dealing with people with disabilities.
Talking with the patient in a way that they can understand, so that they can be involved in their own healthcare.
Fears and emotions that patients might have and a real life example of a bad experience.
List of questions that a patient should ask their doctor.
How to Schmooze Your Legislator: Teaches self-advocates and advocates about the legislative process. The proper protocol for testifying at a hearing and speaking to your legislator.
Leadership: Understand what a leader is and does with tips and activities that encourage community action.
Positivity: Having a positive outlook for a better life and outcomes, and transforming negative emotions into positive energy despite adversity.
Explains what negativity is and what can create it.
How to turn negative situations into positive situations.
Why a positive attitude is a critical part of both effective advocacy and staying focused in one’s life. Uses both personal examples from self-advocates and concrete strategies for remaining positive.
Anger management activity to practice positivity by using a concrete example of things that make you angry and turning it into a positive.
Strategies for staying focused on the future, being a positive role model, and overcoming obstacles in the future.
Stop the R-Word: Uses self-reflection and stories from advocates to explain why the R-word is hurtful and unacceptable. Great for any setting where bullying or disability awareness is being addressed.
The R-Word is a negative label for people with disabilities who are much more than a label.
How changes have happened in society including Rosa’s Law.
What to do if someone uses the R-Word.
How people can engage in activism to help stop the use of the R-Word in the media and the community.
Opportunity to sign a pledge to stop using the R-Word.
Voting: Explores everything from registering to vote to what to expect at the polls.
Emphasizes the importance of making an informed decision and researching the candidates and the issues that are important to individuals with disabilities.
A great workshop for first time voters.
Topic #4: Employment
Employment Tips: For self-advocates interested in finding a job with information about the various approaches (newspaper, internet, career fairs, etc.).
Activity on how to look in the paper for a job.
How to fill out an application, prepare for an interview, what to wear to an interview, and what to expect in an interview.
Role play on the interview process.
Employer Awareness: For potential employers of people with disabilities on orienting new employees to the workplace and making a job manageable.
Building positive relationships, seeking help, and benefits to employers.
Good Employee Employer Relationships: Workplace conduct and interacting with employers and fellow employees.
Proper dress, working together, solving conflict in the workplace, and effective communication strategies.
Problem Solving on the Job: To help individuals who may be experiencing problems on the job.
What you can do about different problems when working.
Your rights on the job.
Sexual harassment and what to do about it.
Starting Your Own Business: An overview on starting a business from people who have been there and done that.
Uses an Albuquerque Journal story that inspired many others to follow the path of business ownership.
Dianne and Jason Griego discuss how to work with the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation to start a business.
Jason describes his daily schedule in depth and details the inner workings of his business.
Transferrable Skills: Helps individuals identify potential jobs by teaching the difference between skills and aptitudes.
Use vocational testing for help finding a job.
List of resources and a number of activities.
Topic #5: Waiver Resources, Services, and Issues
DD Waiver: Helps self-advocates and others understand the rules, regulations, process, and covered benefits.
DD Waiver and Other Funding Sources: Explains and gives brochure on each funding source that articulates qualifying, what to expect, how to sign up, waiting period, staying qualified, and contact information.
The advocates and graduate students produced a monopoly-type game about the DD Waiver that depicts scenarios that could happen while applying for and receiving services.
Marriage without Penalties: The treatment of marriage with regard to SSI benefits produces unfavorable consequences for people who are married. Presents ideas on solving the problem and some alternatives.
Model for how to get involved and advocate for change which is at the heart of self-advocacy.
Mi Via: Overview of what to expect from the Mi Via program and how it works.
Running Your Own ISP: How to make choices that benefit you and to voice your concerns.
Activities engage the audience and give a better understanding of how an ISP should be self-directed.
Special Olympics: Learn more about Special Olympics and how to get involved. What sports and events are offered and requirements for joining.
Benefits of Special Olympics involvement.
Volunteering and roles you can play in the organization.
Seasonal events and contact information.
SIS: The Supports Intensity Scale (SIS) is being used to evaluate people with developmental disabilities and determine their waiver services.
How SIS is used, type of items, how it fits into the DD waiver process, and how it will potentially change the types of services that a person receives.
Provides understanding of a complex, yet critical-to-understand process.
Supplemental Security Income: To get and keep your SSI, there is much to learn about eligibility, resources, and additional income. Covers the benefits and rules of SSI.
Topic #6: Post-Secondary Education
Accessibility in Post-Secondary Education: What services are available to people with disabilities at colleges across the state. Gives basic information about the ADA and education. Contacts at many schools across the state.
Continuing Your Education: What you need to know to prepare for and get into college. Learn what resources are available and what programs of study you may pursue.
Topic #7: Community Living
The Center for Self-Advocacy: Learn about the Center, disability awareness, and related issues. Raises awareness for students and employers about people with abilities.
Antibullying/Mean People Suck: Ways to identify and stop bullying.
Types of bullying and why people bully.
Signs that people are being bullied.
Consequences of bullying and how to break the cycle.
Positive outcomes of not bullying.
Anger Management: Identify anger and ways to handle it.
Types of anger and signs that someone might be getting angry.
What makes you angry.
Using “I” language as opposed to “You” language to diffuse situations.
Alternatives and how to best manage anger. Resources for anger management.
Community Safety: The differences among friends, acquaintances, and strangers. Explores safety when walking, using public transportation, and being out in the community.
Domestic Violence: An in-depth discussion of what domestic violence is and the multiple ways in which it happens. Information on how to get help for those faced with domestic violence.
Dispels myths about domestic violence with statistics about the prevalence in our state and society.
How to address violence from multiple perspectives including the abused, a victim’s friend, or someone who might be abusive.
The best ways to handle it, and resources.
Driver Safety: Safe driving skills and habits for people with disabilities. A refresher on how to be a safer and better prepared driver.
How to apply for a license; the stages a person goes through to get a full driver’s license.
What to do when getting in a car and when entering traffic.
Potential distractions during driving, avoiding or handling accidents, and emergency situations. What to have on hand just in case.
Defensive Driving: Dangerous driving behaviors and how to avoid them.
Speeding, texting and driving, motorcycle safety, drinking and driving, aggressive driving.
Statistics, interactive displays, and explanations of some of the penalties for violating the law.
Healthy Living: Making healthy food choices. Making physical activities easy and fun. Simple snack and meal ideas. Working out and including family and friends.
Housing for People with Disabilities: Options and programs to assist individuals who want to purchase a home. Contacts for each program and how to talk to them.
How to Travel to Different Places: For anyone who wants to travel or enjoys visiting new places.
Budgeting, where to stay, and what to do.
Finding attractions and figuring out if they are worthwhile.
Accessibility, camping and road trips.
Internet Safety: A review of internet sites and tips designed to teach internet safety to novice users and experts as well.
Living on Your Own: After detailing advantages and responsibilities, the presentation covers what someone needs to know when living on their own.
Organizing routines and an activity on how to fill out a calendar.
Keeping your place clean, a budgeting activity, and a safety plan.
Social interaction and what a person will need to buy when living on their own.
Local Resources in New Mexico: Where to find resources pertaining to employment, transportation, and assistive technology.
Money Management: What a budget includes and why people should budget their money.
Healthy spending, saving money, comparison shopping, and making a grocery list.
Surviving Group Homes: Written by individuals who live in group homes. What group homes are and how they work.
Specific things that can go wrong or right depending on the situation.
On the negative side, they mention how issues can come up with transportation, finances, communication, privacy, bullying, staff, roommates, and rules.
On the positive side, good staff can make a huge difference and reduce some of the potential negatives. A group home can offer support, life skills training, and social skills training.
Transportation: Four different types of transportation available to people with disabilities, how to qualify and get enrolled.
A script for people when setting an appointment with a transportation company.
How to partner with transportation companies in order to get excellent service.
Topic #8: Social Skills
How to Meet People: Why social interaction is important and how to do it.
The dos and don’ts of social interaction. Role play meeting someone for the first time.
Where to meet new people and what to discuss the first time.
Getting to Know People: Now that you've met someone, learn how to get to know them better. Additional communication strategies and safe activities to do while getting to know someone better.
How to be social: Addresses development and use of social skills.
How to be safe and have fun in various settings.
Communicating in socially appropriate ways.
Warns against various types of antisocial behaviors.
How to have fun in New Mexico: How to have fun and interact with friends.
Music, movies, television, video games, tourism, and outdoor events.
New Mexico-specific events including tourist attractions, outdoor events, music, and fun insider information such as how to be an extra in a New Mexico film.
Communication: Teaches good listening, talking, paying attention to nonverbal communication, and looking at the whole picture.
Empathy: Definitions of empathy including videos of people explaining what empathy means to them.
Listening, love, trust, caring, and understanding.
Compares respectful and disrespectful behavior through videos and role playing.
Going on Dates: Are you ready to take the next step? Tips on dating, appropriate and inappropriate behavior, and what should and shouldn’t happen on dates.
Romance: Deal makers and deal breakers in deciding whether someone is right for you. Role playing and things to watch out for.
Dumping and Being Dumped: Sometimes relationships don't work out. How do you cope with having a break up? Things you should not put up with in a relationship such as disrespect or violence. How to handle these issues in a healthy and positive way.
Let’s Talk About Sex: Are you and your partner ready for sex? Helps self-advocates approach sex in a healthy, responsible, and safe way. Includes birth control, but does not go into the details of sexual intercourse.
Dos and Don'ts of Relationships: Goes beyond dating by talking about what it means to be in a long-term relationship.
Expectations of and how to have a strong long-term relationship.
Potential problems and how to identify if you are in a bad relationship.