You can advocate for yourself in all areas of your life. As a self-advocate, you can speak up for what you need at your ARD at school, talk to your parents about living independently, or tell your supervisor at your job that you want a pay raise.
How to advocate for yourself:
- Decide what your goals are
- Think about what you need to achieve your goals
- Know where to go to get what you need and how to ask for it
DSACT offers a course where you will build your self-confidence in self-advocacy while you learn to write and proudly deliver an original 2-minute speech. Students who complete this course are eligible to become official Ambassadors for DSACT where they will have the opportunity to fulfill critical roles such as speaking engagements, networking, speaking with DSACT members, and representing DSACT at the Texas Legislature.
It’s just as important to make your voice heard as a citizen to your governmental officials. One of the most critical ways to do that is to vote in every election. Local, state, and federal elections decide who will represent you and make decisions that impact you and your community.
How do you register to vote?
- Check to see if you’re already registered
- Print and sign voter registration form, or request one be mailed to you
Learn more about voting as a person with a disability. By law, if you need help, accommodations must be provided.
Voting isn’t enough. After you vote, you should continue to advocate for yourself and others with Down syndrome by communicating with those elected officials. There are important topics that impact you and lots of organizations who can help you understand those priorities.
Legislative priorities for people with Down syndrome
Once you know what is important to you, you need to know how to reach the lawmakers who make decisions that impact you.
Contact your elected representatives
- Find your representatives in the Texas House and Texas Senate, State Board of Education member, and U.S. House and Senate by visiting https://wrm.capitol.texas.gov/home
The Texas Legislature is in session every 2 years. You can make your voice heard in person with DSACT. This page will be updated with more information when the Legislature is back in session about how to get involved with policy advocacy through DSACT.
The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) holds a conference every year for self-advocates. Learn about the legislative priorities and join other self-advocates at Capitol Hill Day. DSACT offers a scholarship for a self-advocate to go to the conference. Stay tuned for more information on the 2024 Advocacy Conference.