Self-Advocacy: Why It Matters and 4 Simple Steps to Get Started

Can anyone tell your story better than you? Can another person passionately speak up against changes that negatively impact your ability to maintain independence and quality of life the way that you can?

It's safe to say that most people would prefer the chance to speak for themselves on the issues that matter to them most. That's why self-advocacy is such a critical topic to discuss and engage in.

Woman in wheelchair on phone

Self-advocacy can seem intimidating. Where do you start? Who do you reach out to? What are you supposed to say? But speaking up for yourself doesn't have to be complicated. Here are four simple steps to get involved:

1. Follow Advocacy Groups

Get yourself signed up to receive updates from organizations that advocate in areas that relate to you. Whether it's prepared email that sends your message straight to the desk to policy makers or talking points that help you answer questions on a short phone call, advocacy organizations want to help constituents communicate with their elected officials. For issues around wheelchairs and Complex Rehab Technology, you can sign up for updates at www.ncart.us/updates.

2. Utilize Social Media

Share your story just by linking your followers to a news page, a personal experience, or tagging your legislators in your post. As long as you're respectful, it's a great way to express your concerns and requests.

3. Contact Your Legislators

For general issues you may be concerned about, you can locate an office phone number or email address by visiting sites like www.usa.gov/elected-officials or by calling the Congressional switchboard at 202-224-3121.

4. Visit Your Legislators at Their Local Offices

Many legislators spend weeks in their home towns. You can schedule a visit to discuss your concerns and requests by calling the office and speaking with a scheduling staffer. Don't let the idea scare you; remember that their job is to represent you as their constituent and they want to listen to what you have to say!

If Complex Rehab Technology (CRT) is part of your world, a great way to jump into self-advocacy is to visit ProtectMyMobility.org. There you can read about ways to get involved in protecting access to the equipment and services that you or your loved ones use to maintain an independent lifestyle, quality of life, and overall health.

NCART (the National Coalition for Assistive and Rehab Technology) has been busy fighting policy changes that make it harder for people with disabilities to get the individually-configured wheelchairs, custom seating systems, and adaptive assistive equipment they need. We need individuals like you to join us in speaking out against these changes if we're going to make a difference.

NCART logo

Your voice matters, your story is important, and if you don't take the chance to share your concerns, who will? Organizations like NCART are ready to help you take your message to Congress and other policy makers. Don't let someone else decide the future of your access to the equipment and services you depend on. Take control and get involved today!

About the Author

Mickae Lee

Mickae Lee has dedicated over 10 years of her career to the complex rehabilitation technology (CRT) industry. For the past six years she has had the honor of working for NCART where she is currently serving as the Director of Advocacy and Communication for the organization. Mickae is passionate about ensuring that individuals with disabilities have access to the equipment they need and takes pride in working alongside consumer advocacy organizations, suppliers, equipment manufacturers, clinicians, and consumers to advocate for policy changes.

Most of the stories here on RideQuickie were submitted by readers. Do you have a story to tell? We'd love to hear it. Submit your story here.


Date: 9/12/2017 12:00:00 AM


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