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The purpose of advocacy and self-advocacy is for you and your family to decide what it is you want, develop a plan, carry out that plan, and evaluate how you did. Find out how to achieve these goals.

Follow these organizations to read the latest on disability rights.  
 

Words matter. The way we describe individuals affects their self-image and how society perceives them. It goes a long way to think before we speak — and emphasize the person before his/her disability. Next time, instead of saying, “Rachel is autistic,” try, “Rachel is a student with autism.” You’ll see how this small, thoughtful measure makes such a big impact!

Be sensitive and respectful

Follow these simple guidelines for how to treat and interact with people of diverse abilities. From proper terminology to etiquette, you’ll find useful tips — and that being inclusive is really quite easy. Learn more

Those living with disabilities have rights just like anyone else. Learn what’s covered under:

  • The Americans with Disabilities Act, which became law in 1990
  • The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), legislation which ensures equal educational opportunities
  • The Landmark Agreement on the Rights of Parents with Disabilities Feds Reach ‘Landmark Agreement’ On Rights Of Parents With Disabilities — Disability Scoop by Michelle Diament | December 1, 2020
  • In 2021, California passed SB 639, a law stating that individuals with disabilities will be paid on par with other workers for their labor. This ruling effectively updates the 1938 law that allowed businesses with special licenses to pay workers with disabilities sub-minimum wage. The law was part of the landmark Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), at the time seen as a protection for those with disabilities because there was a fear they would be out of work in high numbers if employers had to pay them the same wages as those without disabilities. View the complete text of the bill ending this practice.
  • The Lanterman Act (AB 846, The Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Services Act): Passed in 1969, this California law ensured that people with developmental disabilities and their families receive the same services and supports they need to live like those without disabilities. Those services and supports are obtained through regional centers and service providers. Learn more about regional centers.
  • Autism Advocacy Dr. Stephen Shore is a professor at Adelphi University where his research focuses on matching best practices to the needs of people with autism. For a self-advocate’s perspective, watch Dr. Shore’s talk about his experience with autism, work in the field, and advocacy of those with diverse abilities.

The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) set the following priorities to advocate on behalf of people with disabilities. Working collectively with communities across North America, JFNA helps advance policy to promote inclusion and empower individuals with diverse abilities.

  • Encouraging full inclusion of people with disabilities and physical accessibility for all aspects of Jewish communal life and in the workplace and ensuring that people with disabilities live in and receive supports that enable them to achieve maximum independence.
  • Safeguarding and enhancing the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • Advocating for Legislative Able Age Adjustment Act, a bill that increases the age threshold, from 26 to 46, for tax-favored ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) accounts. (ABLE accounts are designed to enable individuals with disabilities to save for and pay for disability-related expenses).
  • Pressing for a long-term extension of the Money Follows the Person Demonstration Project, offering states’ Medicaid incentives to transition those living in nursing homes and other institutions into less restrictive settings.
  • Supporting job training and integrated employment for people with disabilities while promoting funding and policies for recruitment, hiring, retention, and promotion.
  • Promoting accessible transportation and supportive services for people with disabilities, and respite care for caregivers.