Self-awareness is generally the first step in self-advocacy. As you become an adult and seek independence, it is important to determine what is important to you. You can begin by determining what it is you need, speaking up for yourself and learning how to describe your needs and wants.

Know your rights. There are laws and regulations to provide guidance and clarification about what must be provided to you. A number of federal laws address accessibility and protect the rights of persons with disabilities. These laws cover access to a wide range of facilities and services, including housing, transportation, employment, telecommunications and voting. Knowing your rights under the laws, or complying with their requirements, means getting the right information from the proper source. Don’t be afraid to ask for help at navigating this process! And remember, people bring laws into action.

The Statistics

of the population are affected by dyslexia
of people with learning differences have dyslexia

If you suspect a learning disorder the most important first step is to support your learner’s journey to understanding their strengths and challenges.

Self-Advocacy training programs:

Project Self Advocate Leadership Training’s (SALT) is part of The University of Miami’s Mailman Center Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) training program. Project SALT’s vision is to produce an ever-growing cadre of individuals with disabilities with the capacity for self-determination, independence and the ability to participate in their communities in meaningful ways. For more information, email Shelly Baer or call at 305 689-7058.

People First of South Florida is a self-advocacy group run by and for adults with various disabilities to raise awareness of and campaign for the rights of people with learning disabilities and to support self-advocacy groups across the country.

The Youth Leadership Forum (YLF) is a unique leadership-training program for high school students with disabilities. For four days, students will represent their communities as delegates in Florida’s state capital, learning to cultivate leadership, citizenship, and social skills.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was the initial legislation that ensures a free appropriate public education to eligible children with disabilities in the least restrictive environment and ensures special education and related services to those children.  Students in special education are required by federal law to have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).

Parent to Parent of Miami is a community parent resource center for families of children and adults with all disabilities. Located in Miami, Florida, this program serves families in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties, as well as the nation. With the help of Parent to Parent of Miami’s specialized team, parents and professionals can find information, workshops, and other resources to help make decisions about early intervention, early childhood, education, IEP process, vocational training, employment, college opportunities, as well as the laws that protect the rights of children and adults with disabilities. Some services are free, some are fee based.

 Disability Rights Florida was founded in 1977 as the statewide designated protection and advocacy system for individuals with disabilities in the State of Florida. Disability Rights Florida is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation that has authority and responsibility under nine federal grants. Their services are free and confidential.

Disability Independence Group (DIG) expands opportunities for participation, education, employment and acceptance of persons with disabilities through advocacy, litigation, education and training. Services run the life span, some are fee based while others are not.

Learning Disability Association of America (LDA) is an organization of parents and professionals working to help students with disabilities succeed with a focus on prevention, early and effective intervention and a successful transition to adult life. The organization’s goals are to ensure that students with learning disabilities are well represented in the State of Florida accountability system and school choice initiatives.

Florida Disability Resources and Advocacy Organizations

The Agency for Persons with Disabilities works in partnership with local communities to ensure the safety, well-being and self-sufficiency for persons with developmental disabilities throughout Florida. The agency provides assistance to identify the needs of people with developmental disabilities and funding to purchase supports and services. The developmental disabilities identified in Florida law are: Spina Bifida, Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Prader-Willi, Down Syndrome and Intellectual Disability. Medicaid Waiver helps people to receive long-term care in the community and it is through Agency for Persons with Disabilities. The Agency for Persons with Disabilities provides support coordinators to assist both children and adults in identifying and securing the supports and services they need to live, work and play in places they chose.

Alpert Jewish Family & Children’s Service Life Planning Program offers educational seminars, individual consultations, advocacy and emotional support to families who have a family member with any type of disability, including intellectual/developmental disabilities, mental illness and TBI. The program assists families with making viable and appropriate future plans for their family members.


Quick Links

Tips for teen advocacy

National Disability Rights Network

Pathfinders for Autism


Americans Live With an Autism Spectrum Disorder
of Children Have Been Diagnosed with a Developmental Disability