Self Advocacy Basics – Distance Learning

Self-Advocacy Basics

Session 0
Title: Participant Orientation

Description: An engaging and fun overview of the coming 12 sessions.

–Review the material in the Participant Kits.
–Build participant anticipation and enthusiasm for the coming 12 sessions.
–Get everyone’s commitment to attend and participate in all 12 sessions.
–Facilitator learn how the group works together and make adjustments so that everyone is comfortable with the distance learning format.


Session 1a
Title: Say Names Together

Description: A fun warm-up energizer that includes smiling and saying each other’s names.

–Make everyone feel welcome and seen as part of the group.
–Build bonds between group members.
–Put people at ease.

Session 1b
Title: Would You Rather

Description: Energizer to playfully consider your values and priorities,
compare them with the values of other group members.

–A simple way to get people to practice talking about what they think, and why.
–Practice making decisions.
–See how my choices might be the same or different from others.

Session 1c
Title: Values Collage

Description: Participants make a collage using their personal choices of words and phrases that describe their values.

–Knowing what is most important to you.
–Telling others about your values.
–Using your values to guide your life decisions.


Session 2
Title: Assertiveness Training

Description: Volunteers take turns role-playing simple situations demonstrating passive, aggressive, and assertive.

–Understand the difference between communicating passively, aggressively, and assertively.
–Experience which communication method is most effective


Session 3a
Title: Showing Confidence

Description: In a breakout, pairs of participants take turns interviewing each other. Then notice together how body language shows confidence.

To provide a chance for participants to practice acting self-confident and believing in themselves.

Session 3b
Title: Real Leaders Ask for Help

Description: Participants practice the skill of asking for help and knowing who to ask.

–Build the skill of asking for help
–Participants are comfortable assertively naming what help they need
–Participants also see themselves as people with something to give
–Participants broaden their understanding of where to go for help


Session 4
Title: Open Mic/Feature Screen

Description: Participants practice speaking out and self-confidence by telling what’s on their mind by being the featured person on screen.

–Build the skill and confidence of speaking out
–Have fun together, build group support


Session 5a
Title: Three Laws

Description: Learn about the three major disability rights laws, and tell/show how these laws affect your community.

–Participants learn about disability laws.
–Participants tell/show how these laws impact their lives.

Session 5b
Title: You Be the Judge

Description: Read aloud a series of scenarios describing a situation. Self-advocates take turns deciding if something’s illegal, why and how to fix it.

Participants begin to discern when disability rights are being violated and how to change the situations to make them legal.


Session 6a
Title: History Snapshots

Description: Small groups examine cards with pictures and facts from the history of Western society and tell the large group what these cards show about disability in the past.

Participants learn:
–Rights laws exist because ordinary people pushed for them.
–There was a time when people did not have rights.
–We are a part of history—we can make new rights.

Session 6b
Title: Everyone Can Be Great

Description: Group recites together a quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. with some people doing solo lines, and the large group repeating one phrase as a “chorus.”

–Reinforce central message of self-advocacy, that we all have something important to contribute.
–Practice telling others about our values.


Session 7a
Title: What is Power

Description: Simple demonstrations with a few volunteers show different kinds of power, while others watch and discuss.

–Participants understand the types of power and can see examples in their lives.

Session 7b
Title: Human Rights Power

Description: Participants hear and feel the power of human rights read aloud, then draw pictures which will remind themselves of what it feels like to be full of power.

–Participants experience power from within based o– knowing their own human rights.


Session 8
Title: Laws in Action

Description: Breakout teams compete for who can find the most examples of how disability laws have influenced the community.

–Participants learn how laws have changed their community.


Session 9a
Title: Who Are We Connected To

Description: Participants get to know their community connections by completing a bubble diagram, sharing results, and consider the power of these connections.

–Build awareness of your deep connections to the wider community.
–Participants learn new things about each other, and how we can help each other.

Session 9b
Title: Building Community Connections

Description: Participants explore options for making new connections in the community and plan to connect to one new group this week.

–Build awareness and skills for building new connections to the wider community.
–Plan to connect with new group


Session 10
Title: Who Are the Leaders

Description: Participants first list qualities that established leaders possess, and then think about how they themselves carry these same qualities.

–To recognize leadership qualities in ourselves and in other group members.
–How my leadership can help the community.


Session 11
Title: Make Connections

Description: In small groups people will have the opportunity to meet (using distance learning tools if necessary) local leaders and have a conversation with them about what disability inclusion means.

–To begin/expand relationships with local leaders
–To listen and to share my ideas


Session 12
Title: Review and Celebrate Our Achievement

Description: Recognition and celebration of participants’ successful completion of all 12 sessions.

–Mark the completion of this 12-session course with a ceremony presenting certificates
–Raise community awareness of what we are doing