Self-advocacy tool: get clear and make a plan in 3 steps

Self-advocacy skills help you consider your options and make positive choices that affect your future. Being able to self-advocate involves understanding your strengths, empowering you to communicate your needs along with the accommodations you require to succeed. 

Take a quiet moment to sit down and answer the following questions to help you prepare for the next step in creating a self-advocacy plan. 

Step 1: Recognize your strengths and rights

  1. Self-awareness

What are your interests, strengths & preferences?

What are your goals and dreams?

What are your support needs?

What are your accommodation needs?

What are the characteristics of your health condition?

What are your responsibilities?

  1. Knowledge of rights

What are your personal rights? 

What are your community rights?

What are your human service rights? 

What are your consumer rights?

What are your educational rights? 

What steps can you make to advocate for change?

How much knowledge do you have of available resources?

  1. Communication

Consider your current skills and identify the areas you need to improve:

Assertiveness skills

Negotiation skills

Body language

Use of assistive technology

Listening skills


Step 2: Self-Advocacy – Get clear 

  1. What is the issue? What would you like to change?
  2. What is your goal? What result would you like to achieve? 
  3. What information do you need in order to achieve your goal? Where can you get that information?
  4. What support might you need to achieve your goal? Where can you get that support?
  5. Who are the decision-makers that you need to influence to achieve your goal? What actions can you take? Who do you need to speak to?

Step 3: Self-Advocacy – Make a plan

  1. I will call/meet/write to ………………by the following date: ………………………
  2. If the person does not resolve the situation by the following date……. then I will call/meet with/write to …………………….. 
  3. Documentation that I will need:
  4. What is my backup plan if this strategy doesn’t work?


Thank you to OCD Action for the wonderful inspiration