Here are some tips on being a good self-advocate:
Think about what you want to change. Before you take a stand, know what you want to happen. Do you want to be treated differently? Do you want something to be done differently?
Speak clearly and slowly. Start by saying something like, “I would like to talk with you about…” and then calmly describe how you see the situation.
Let the other person speak. Being a self-advocate doesn’t mean that you are the only one talking – the other person/organization needs a chance to respond to what you are saying.
Don’t expect immediate results. Change is not always instant – sometimes it takes many conversations, letters, etc. You may need to remind the person/organization more than once.
Understand your disability. In many school and job situations, you may need to take the responsibility for explaining to others your exact needs. Practice speaking openly about your needs and strengths with your family and friends. This will make it easier in new situations and with people who don’t know you.
Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month (JDAIM)
Advocacy is important to JAA of Southern New Jersey. If you would like additional information about local advocacy efforts or wish to become involved, feel free to contact Jewish Family and Children’s Services (JFCS) at 856-424-1333. Representatives will work together with you to empower you to create change. For additional information, please utilize this comprehensive inclusive web based directory to find the best fit for you. Political advocacy also provides opportunities to make your voice heard.
To obtain legislative support click here to identify and contact local representatives.
Additional Advocacy Resources
Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC)
Association of Jewish Family & Children’s Agencies (AJFCA)
The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA)
The Arc of Camden County
The Arc of Burlington County
The Arc of Gloucester County
The Jewish Federations of North America is involved with Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month (JDAIM), held annually in February. The mission of this month is to unite Jewish communities and organizations to raise awareness of the needs, strengths, opportunities and challenges of individuals with disabilities and their families as well as to support meaningful inclusion of people with disabilities and their families in every aspect of Jewish life.
Check with your local Jewish Federation for a calendar of events.