Self-Advocacy 102 Transcript
Self-Advocacy 102 Video
Idaho Self-Advocate Leadership Network (ISALN)
Welcome to "Self-Advocacy 102," brought to you by the Idaho Self-Advocate Leadership Network. In collaboration with the Center on Disabilities and Human Development and the Self-Advocacy Resource and Technical Assistance Center. I’m Shiloh Blackburn. I'll be guiding you through this training.
There are two goals to the purpose of this training today. The first goal is to give you information on what it means to be a self-advocate. The second goal is to share the groups of people and resources that can help you find the services you need to have a successful, happy, better life.
Remember self-advocacy is speaking up for yourself. Making your own choices for your life. Helping others speak up for themselves. Taking responsibility for your actions.
For example, if I refuse to take my seizure medication, I would have a seizure or two. It is my responsibility to take the Keppra, to help prevent me from having a seizure and harming myself or others.
Remember self-advocacy is not getting your way all the time. It is not talking over other people just so your opinion or point is heard above all others, and not caring what others have to say. Self-advocacy is not treating people differently just because their disability is different than yours.
For example, say Mark has Spina Bifida and uses a wheelchair to get around. Bella has Cerebral Palsy and uses crutches to walk. She pities Mark because his disability requires him to get around in a wheelchair.
Self-advocacy is not always easy or fair.
Here are four new words to know.
Respect is when you treat others the way you want to be treated, with kindness and consideration.
Here is one example of showing respect to someone. When chatting for awhile with a person who uses a wheelchair, it is polite and respectful to be on a similar eye level with them. As a woman who uses a wheelchair, I speak from experience. When you cannot stand and you sit all day you're almost always the shortest person in the crowd. I truly appreciate it when I don't have to constantly crane my neck upwards to talk to someone. When they are on a similar eye level I feel more at ease and an equal.
Assertive means telling people in a respectful, but sure way, how you honestly feel, what you need, and what you think.
In this cartoon the horse bullies the giraffe by calling him dumb and an ugly horse. The giraffe simply declares, "No, I'm a giraffe." Standing up for yourself against a bully is just one example of being assertive. Speaking assertively is a positive way to self-advocate.
Another example of behaving assertively is when I answered a question about myself a nurse directed towards my support staff. In answering the question I let her know that I speak for myself and that it was more respectful to talk to me directly.
Passive behavior is when you don't actively participate in something regarding your life. You let others make decisions about you, for you. Also, passive means you don't share your own opinions or feelings.
Here's an example of acting passively. Suzanne and Peter want to see a movie. Suzanne wants to see a comedy, while Peter prefers to see a horror flick. Although Suzanne asks Peter what kind of movie he wants to see, he shrugs and tells her "You pick." The couple end up seeing the comedy that night as Peter did not speak up and express his choice in movies.
Aggressive means you take control, and don't think about other people's feelings, opinions, or rights.
One example of being aggressive is demanding that someone take you shopping NOW without thinking if they have the time or desire to do so.
Another example of behaving aggressively is shoving another person away, and shouting "NO!" when they say something you don't like.
Here's a True or False quiz. Take a moment to read the questions, and think about your answers.
- If you learn to be assertive, you are more likely to get what you want. TRUE. You won't always get your way, but acting and speaking assertively will help others respond to you in a positive way.
- Assertive people don't listen to other people. That's only what passive people do. FALSE. Assertive people DO listen to others.
- You are assertive when you openly and honestly express your thoughts and feelings. TRUE. Communicating assertively helps other people understand your needs and wants.
- You are assertive when you stand up for your rights. TRUE. Taking away a person's rights is an aggressive act.
- You are assertive when you put other people's needs ahead of your own. FALSE. While thinking of others is nice and compassionate, putting people's needs or wants ahead of your own, when you really should put your needs first is passive behavior.
- When you communicate assertively you avoid looking people in the eyes. FALSE. It's always best to make eye contact when speaking with another individual. This way they know you're being open and honest.
- If you aren't born assertive, you'll never become assertive. FALSE. Assertiveness is learned, and anyone can learn how to be assertive.
- When using assertive communication, you might feel uncomfortable. TRUE. Sometimes people won't like what you say or do.
- To be assertive you may need to get in someone's face, and threaten him or her. FALSE. This is aggressive behavior.
- After using assertive communication you feel proud. TRUE. Standing up for yourself or sharing openly and honestly how you feel with someone else can make you feel proud of yourself.
Bonus Point! If you are assertive enough, you can change the mind of someone in a position of authority all by yourself. TRUE. This can happen sometimes, yes if you and the other person know each other well. However, please understand that too much assertiveness becomes aggression.
Here's a quick review.
- Respect is treating others the way you want to be treated.
- Assertive means people honestly and openly tell others how they feel and what they need.
- Passive means people let others make their decisions for them. They don't express their own opinions.
- Aggressive means people take control and don't think about other people's opinions or rights.
Stop and think a moment. How do you act around other people? Are you respectful and assertive? Or, do you act passive or even aggressive?
From now on remember, one of the key skills to have in self-advocacy is assertiveness, and remember the motto: "Nothing about us, without us"!
Thank you for visiting! I hope you enjoyed the training. If you would like to view more trainings and learn more about self-advocacy and other related topics, please visit idahocdhd.org/isaln.