Engaging People with Disabilities and Their Siblings About Advocacy

This presentation is threefold. First, we discuss themes about advocacy identified by five focus groups with self-advocates and their siblings. Themes relate to future planning, community life, and equity. Second, we summarize a policy training for self-advocates and their siblings. We discuss how policy will change in the future. Third, we share videos showing self-advocates and their siblings’ input regarding changes to disability policies.  After this session, participants will be able to define advocacy by the examples given by individuals with disabilities and their siblings. Specifically, the focus group data provides an example of a multi-layered conception of advocacy that relates to individuals with disabilities and their siblings.   After this session, participants will explain how individuals with disabilities and their siblings can affect legislative change for disability policy. Individuals with disabilities and their siblings play unique roles in advocating for policies that matter to them.   After this session, participants will identify specific strategies to effectively voice their concerns about disability policies. We will share and discuss the “Advocacy Toolkit” that we gave to participants.   After this session, participants will understand the Older Americans Act and Employment First initiatives. Participants will view a policy advocacy video, highlighting individuals with disabilities and their siblings’ viewpoints to show the impact of these policies.   Through the fulfillment of these learning objectives, participants will be empowered to potentially advocate in new ways by emphasizing the importance of future planning within the above policies.

Meghan Burke, Katie Arnold, Lex Bolyanatz