The best way to guarantee you receive the services you need and protect your rights is to be an advocate from the beginning.
There are five parts to being a self-advocate:
Realize you have rights. You are entitled to quality under the law. Keep informed. Ask questions. Use resources including peer-run, family and community support programs, referral/crisis hotlines, advocacy groups and service providers that may offer informative classes, assertiveness training groups and publications. When contacting a resource insist that explanations are clear and understandable.
Remember that you are responsible for:
Most services are provided because of state or federal laws
Many professionals have standards which must be met to be licensed or certified
Fact Finding and Documentation
Figure out if it’s working
Before you call, write down the essential points of what you want to say
NegotiatingSometimes when you advocate you will have to negotiate for what you need. A negotiation is what takes place when two or more people do not agree.
Source: Disability Rights North Carolina Champions for Equality and Justice.
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