Self Advocates

Self Advocates

Welcome! We are so excited to share this page with you. We know how important it is to people with disabilities to have jobs and careers. On this page, we have provided resources for you to use to help support people with disabilities get jobs and careers for real pay. We hope you share this website with your friends and family. 

Speak Up for Yourself

What do you want your life to look like? Where do you want to live? What type of job do you want and what to do need to be able to do that job? Youth need to be given the opportunity to find their own dreams and given the skills and opportunity to be empowered to speak up for themselves. This is known as “Self-Advocacy” and is a skill that helps youth be the keeper of their own vision for life as an adult.

Additional Resources

I’m determined
This website is funded by the Virginia Department of Education, focusing on providing resources that promote self-determined behavior.

Hitting the Open Road After High School: How to Choose Your Own Adventure to Success
This publication is intended to help youth think about their options and plan ahead. It is co-written by members of the Youth Action Council on Transition.

Take Charge of Your Money: An Introduction to Financial Capability
This brief is a starting point for learning about and developing your financial capability so that youth can make smart decisions about managing money.

A Curriculum for Self-Advocates
This comprehensive curriculum is for self-advocates with disabilities and was created by the Autism Self-Advocacy Networks.

This website is for youth and families focusing on healthy relationships and building friendships.

Learn About Self-Advocacy: Speaking Up
This video slide show is helping youth with disabilities understand the power of self-advocacy.

Use Your IEP Meetings to Learn How to Advocate for Yourself
This tip sheet for youth with disabilities was created by the Utah Parent Center.

What is Self Advocacy? (video)
Learn the basics about being a self-advocate from this self-advocate made video! Researched and written by: Steven Greiner (TennesseeWorks)

Get the Facts – Competitive Integrated Employment

Using Technology

Technology is truly all around us. It has become an essential part of most jobs. Job seekers with disabilities can use technology in a variety of ways to prepare for work and to do their jobs. Youth can use assistive technology to make difficult tasks easier in school. Employees can use technology in the workplace to do jobs they otherwise would not be able to do or to help with communication. Job seekers are encouraged to ask “how can technology help me do the job I want to do?”

Resumes & Job Interviews

Chances are that youth with disabilities will need a résumé and to be prepared for the job interview process at some point in their working life. A résumé can take many forms and is the perfect way to show an employer experiences, strengths, and passions. The job interview can often be intimidating, but with a little practice, and a good attitude an individual can turn it into a showcase for their talents. Preparing for these important steps in the employment process can lead to a successful job search.

Additional Resources
Disclosing Your Disability

Telling an employer about a disability is a personal choice. However, if an employee is going to request a job accommodation, or feels that their disability may impact them in other ways at work, they may need to disclose their disability to their employer. There are many opinions on what the best way to do that is, but knowing one’s disability and practicing talking about it is a good first step.

Additional Resources

Disability Disclosure (video)
This video provides a short introduction to disability disclosure for youth with disabilities in school or at work.

411 on Disability Disclosure: A Workbook for Youth with Disabilities
The 411 on Disability Disclosure is a workbook that provides the expertise about disclosing a disability, and helps you provide the expertise about yourself. This workbook was developed by TransCen, Inc. for the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth.

The 411 on Disability Disclosure: A Workbook for Family, Youth Service Professionals, Adult Allies That Care About People with Disabilities
This workbook provides the expertise about disclosing a disability, and YOU provide the support to a young person. This workbook was created by the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth.

Using Job Accommodations

Though not often talked about, almost every employee, disability or no disability, uses some type of job accommodation to help them do their job. Some people with disabilities may need additional accommodations to help them do what the job requires. Common accommodations include computer software to improve writing and communication, tools to help handle objects, or slight changes in schedule so a person is working during the hours they are at their best. Most accommodations come at little or no cost to an employer. Job seekers are encouraged to understand and explore the job accommodations that may be useful to them.

Additional Resources

Help Your Young Adult Learn About Accessing Accommodations After High School This articles describes three ways parents can help their son or daughter learn how to understand, manage, and explain his or her disability to others and obtain needed accommodations.