If you are a youth, you are probably already looking for independence. If you are a parent, caregiver, educator or other professionals that work with youth with disabilities, it is your job to prepare them for adulthood by teaching them to be as independent as possible. Self-Advocacy is key to a successful adult life and these skills can be taught at any age – and should begin sooner than later.
Self-Advocacy is learning how to speak up for yourself, making your own decisions about your own life, learning how to get information so that you can understand things that are of interest to you, finding out who will support you in your journey, knowing your rights and responsibilities, problem-solving, listening and learning, reaching out to others when you need help and friendship and learning about self-determination. This is all very important because YOU need to participate in decisions that are being made about YOUR life.
Research supports the premise that youth development programs positively shape the growth of young people with and without disabilities. This process includes the preparation of a young person to meet the challenges of adolescence and adulthood. Our programs designed to help with this process by working with youth with disabilities between the ages of 16 to 26 to become as independent as possible and live the life they envision for themselves.
We offer youth-specific trainings on a variety of topics, peer-to-peer support from a Youth Information and Training Specialist employed by Families Helping Families and lots of internet resources applicable to youth.