Self-Advocacy: Your Voice, Your Story Transcript
Self-Advocacy: Your Voice, Your Story Video
Idaho Self-Advocate Leadership Network (ISALN)
(Shiloh) Welcome to "Your Voice, Your Story," 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.
The purpose of this training is to help you learn why your story matters, and how to tell your story.
Why tell your story? Each of us has a life story that can move others to action. Our life stories help paint a picture of what has happened.
For example, I laid in bed a month ago until it was almost noon, because no caregiver showed up for my morning shift. I had to call the company that provides my care services and tell them what happened. Luckily, for me, they were able to send a nurse to help me get out of bed, and get ready for the day. Stories help us feel what matters. Again, referring to my previous example, my care company acted immediately after my call. The people there knew I cannot get in and out of bed by myself, and felt sorry for the mistake they made in not having me on the schedule that morning.
Stories help us put ourselves in another person's shoes. Stories help put faces to names and makes what happened more real for other people.
Get people to take action by sharing one of your life experiences. Tell other people, service providers and community members, and your legislators about the things that you care about. Build a good relationship with them.
For example, several years ago I met with Senator Jim Risch to talk about the ABLE Act, and how it would help individuals with disabilities save money in a type of savings account for disability related things without having our benefits taken away. With an ABLE account I could buy an accessible van.
Tell them what you think needs to be done. Explain why you feel an issue is important to you. Speak up.
Here's an example of how to share your story. To begin, tell your legislators your name. "Hi, I'm Shiloh." Tell them what you want to talk about during your visit. For example, "I'm here to talk about the Idaho Health Care Plan."
The middle of your story includes first, describing the problem. In my example, 78,000 Idahoans either make too much or too little money to have health insurance coverage. Second, explaining what isn't working. In emailing my legislators, I briefly told them my Medicaid story, and how I might have to move into a nursing home if Idaho doesn't help those in the insurance coverage gap.
Share real examples from your life. My story is simple. I receive several home and community based services from Medicaid. I have personal care services, which means I have caregivers who come into my home twice a day, every day, to help with household chores, cooking, shopping and my personal care needs. Medicaid also pays for my seizure medication. Without these services, I would be in a nursing home with severely limited independence, and limited rights.
Practice makes your story perfect. Think through what you want to say. Plan out a few key talking points. Remember keep things brief. Plan on speaking with your legislator no more than three minutes. They are very busy when they're in session. Don't get frustrated. Remember your story is important and it is a work in progress.
Practice in front of a live audience. Find a person you trust, and share your story with them. Keep your story to three minutes. Have your friend or family member time you. Find another person, and repeat.
What do you care about? Why does it matter to you? Share your life story!
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.