2. Self-advocacy includes:
• Starting, changing, or ending conversations
• Sharing feelings, opinions, and experiences with others
• Making requests and asking for favors
• Refusing others' requests if they are too demanding
• Questioning rules or traditions that don't make sense or
don't seem fair
• Addressing problems or things that bother you
• Being firm so that your rights are respected
• Expressing positive emotions
• Expressing negative emotions
• Being assertive
3. To be a good self-advocate you
need to learn to be assertive
What is being assertive?
• Being confident and positive in a persistent way
• Begin assertive will help you be a good self-
6. Assertive people are
Are open and honest
Stand up for themselves
Say no if it is inconvenient
Explain their actions
Refuse to be bullied
Try not to hurt anyone
Express their feelings clearly
Source: GO Module #4 page 164
10. Self-Advocacy at Home
• Being assertive at home with family and friends can be one of the
most difficult places to do it.
• When you care for people and depend on them it makes it more
difficult to self-advocate.
• You have to remember that you should be treated fairly by the people
you live with and care for. This might mean that you have to advocate
for yourself at home.
11. Equal treatment
You deserve to be treated the same as other family members and friends when
it comes to responsibilities (such as doing chores, sharing, or taking turns) and
rewards (such as choosing which movie you'll see with your friends or the right
to time on the family computer.)
Just like everywhere else in your life, you also deserve to be treated with
respect. While family members and friends may be casual around each other
(that's part of the comfort that comes with friendship), if their actions or
behaviors offend you or hurt your feelings, you have the right to tell them and
ask them to change those behaviors.
13. Self-Advocacy at Work or School
You have the right to equal opportunities at work and at school. No matter what your race, gender,
or abilities, the law guarantees you equal access to jobs and an education. You cannot be turned
down for a job or be rejected from a school based simply on your physical attributes. You cannot
be denied the same opportunities available to others.
Just as you have the right to the same opportunities, you have the right to the same rewards. If
you perform as well as others at work or at school, you deserve the same compensation. This
could be in the amount you are paid at work or the grades you get in school.
15. Self Advocacy and Your Health
You Have the Right to Ask Questions
Don't be afraid to ask a doctor or nurse, about a diagnosis,
recommended treatment, or prescribed drug. You may worry that their
time is important but so are your time and your health. You have a right
to ask and receive a full explanation about anything pertaining to your
16. Get a Second Opinion
Doctors, and nurses are not always right. If you are
concerned about a diagnosis or recommended treatment,
even after a healthcare professional has explained it to you,
it's your right to go see someone else. If the information
you're being given could drastically affect your life, don't feel
as though you have to rely on one person's word.
Healthcare professionals are right more often than they are
wrong (otherwise they wouldn't be practicing), but it doesn't
hurt to see other professionals for their opinion.
Source: adapted from http://www.mtstcil.org/skills/assert-intro.html
17. Refuse treatment and/or seek alternative treatment.
This is often a scary and difficult decision, but if you are a competent
adult, you do have the right to refuse medical treatment. You may
choose to do so because you have received a different opinion from
another expert in the field; you may do so because you are afraid the
drawbacks of the treatment will outweigh the benefits or you may do
so for other, personal reasons. Deciding to refuse treatment or seek
alternative treatments against your healthcare professional's advice
can be very risky and should be considered very carefully. If you have
doubts about a treatment or diagnosis, even after getting a second
opinion, consider doing research, talking to others who have
experienced the treatment or diagnosis, and getting even a third or
Source: adapted from http://www.mtstcil.org/skills/assert-intro.html
20. "SMART" Complaints
We often hear about having SMART goals.
SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound.
You can apply a similar concept to complaints. SMART Complaints are:
21. The “SMART” Complaining Checklist
Before you share your complaint, or following a failed complaint, review the following checklist as a guide:
S – Specific/Support
Are you being specific when you explain your complaint?
Can you speak with a specific person who can change policy or decisions?
Do you have support? Have you asked friends, family or others for help or advice?
Is there a community group that could give you support?
Do you have facts and documents to support you?
M - Measurable
Is there a way to measure the result of your problem? Has it cost you money?
What will fix your complaint?
Would you be willing to compromise? By how much?
A – Achievable/Anger
Can you achieve your goal? Did you give clear, factual evidence?
Are you using your anger positively: to energize and motivate you?
Are you negatively expressing your anger: by shouting, threatening, etc.?
Are you being respectful and courteous?
Are you treating others, as you would like to be treated?
Are your expectations reasonable?
T – Tracking
Are you tracking your progress by keeping a detailed record of all calls, letters, responses and any other relevant items?
Source: Self-Advocacy Curriculum (Self Help Alliance, 2010) p.49
22. Rules for Complaining
1. Don't complain all the time. Constant complaining is just whining, and makes you seem like a
2. Don't complain unless you know all the facts.Do some research about the issues before you
start to complain.
3. Be specific about what you are complaining about. Don't just say you don't like something,
explain why you don't like something.
4. Complain to the right person. If you are not complaining to someone who can fix the problem,
it probably won't get fixed.
5. Don't make the complaint a personal attack. Use "I" messages to avoid criticizing directly.
6. Have suggestions as to how to fix the issue. If you are not part of the solution, you are part of
7. Don't let the issue escalate. Deal with it as soon as possible so it doesn't get worse.
Source: Adapted from The Advocacy Curriculum (Self Help Alliance, 2010) p. 50
24. This Power Point was created by Laubach Literacy Ontario.
The resources can be downloaded free of charge
This Employment Ontario Project was funded by the Ontario Government. 2015
All website links were accurate at the time of original distribution-March 2015.
All of the images and clip art used in this Power Point are from Clipart.com and
Notes de l'éditeur
Make sure all the participants have the handout "Three Types of Behaviour". Discuss the characteristics of each type of behaviour. Ask the learners if they can think of people they know that act passively, assertively and aggressively. Discuss the fact that being assertive is the best type of behaviour to be a successful self-advocate.
Have the learners discuss this as a group. There are no right or wrong answers.
Ask the learners if they have you ever heard this phrase before. Ask them what they think it means. Being a good self advocate means that you are confident to speak up, but in a polite and respectful way. Being a squeaky wheel is being a self-advocate as long as you are respectful.
Add in the story about the chemo refusal - case study?
As a group discuss what the term complaining means. Have the participants look up the definition of complaining and synonyms for complaining. Discuss whether they think complaining is a good thing or a bad thing.
Note: This is also a handout. Review the SMART complaining checklist with the group.
Note: This is also a handout. Review "Rules for Complaining" with the group.