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Watch our 60th Anniversary video that honours and remembers the civil rights history of people with developmental disabilities in BC. Read more about our history here.

What is self advocacy?

What is Self Advocacy?

Self Advocacy means speaking up and speaking out for your rights. Many people with developmental disabilities who are speaking up for their rights call themselves "self advocates."

The Self Advocacy Movement involves people from all over the world who are leaders on important issues that affect people with disabilities. A movement means groups of people who are trying to change the ways society works. Self advocacy is a movement that says that people with disabilities have the right to control their own life and make their own decisions. Families, friends and advisors also have a role in supporting self advocacy.

The self advocacy movement has made many important changes in society. We no longer us the words "mentally retarded" to describe people with developmental disabilities. Many people with disabilities no longer live in institutions. Many are active in their communities among family, friends and neighbours. Self advocacy is changing the world, one community at a time.

Many self advocates in BC have organized themselves into self advocacy groups.

Self advocacy groups can:

  • Bring people together to share ideas and support
  • Organize training for their members, or speak to other groups about self advocacy
  • Be a powerful voice to government and community living associations about the changes they want to make in their communities
  • Be a way for people to have fun and make friends

For a list of some provincial and national self advocacy groups, visit the main self advocacy webpage on this site.

The Inclusion BC Self Advocacy Coordinator is Karla Verchoor. You can email her at kverschoor@inclusionbc.org or phone (604) 777-9100 ext. 530. If you live outside the Lower Mainland, you can also call our toll-free advocacy line: 1-844-488-4321.