You don’t have to get it right, you just have to get it going.
Lesson 7 Advocate for Yourself
Welcome to lesson 7! This is an important lesson where we are going to learn about advocacy. When I first lost my sight I did not really know what advocacy was so I think it is important to dedicate a lesson to advocacy. First I want to define advocacy.
According to www.dictionary.com advocacy is: Active support, esp. of a cause
This can mean either a group of people or just you. Here are two examples: if you are going to college and you ask for special accommodations because of your disability you are advocating for yourself. This also goes back to lesson 6 where we talked about speaking up for yourself. If you advocate for a group of people it could be for wheelchair cut outs in the sidewalks or audible pedestrian signals for the blind to help cross streets safely. I hope you are starting to see how advocating can be very important.
“You show people what you’re willing to fight for when you fight your friends.”
– HILLARY CLINTON
At some point you will need to advocate, at least for yourself. When you do this you should be aware of the ADA which is the Americans with Disabilities Act. The official website is: http://www.ada.gov/ this is where you can find out what all the ADA covers. This act covers things like the signs on doors. My aunt and I go to a certain restaurant frequently and when they remodeled they did not put signs on the bathrooms. I knew where the bathrooms were, but if another visually impaired person would go there they would have no idea which bathroom would be which. So after several times of speaking with the owner, they finally have the correct signs. They may not be in the exactly correct spot, but they are there and I am proud of myself for advocating. Really it was not difficult and I just took a minute when I was there to speak to the owner or manager. So you see how easy advocacy can be. Granted, not all advocacy will work that well. But, unless you try you will never know.
One thing that is covered by the ADA is the internet. You will find many websites that are accessible, but some that are not if you are using a screen reader. The laws are still apparently a little fuzzy and some companies do not want to comply, for some reason. If you came across an inaccessible website advocate for yourself and send them and email and explain the problem. The company may not know and they may thank you for bringing it to their attention. I have had that happen before. There will be some companies that you may not hear back from, then you need to decide what to do and how much you want them to make their site accessible.
Can you think of 3 ways you can or have advocated for yourself?
"Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can."
– Arthur Ashe
How difficult was that? If you think about if we advocate just about every day. Let’s start a conversation over on our private Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/10lessonempowerment/
on advocacy and its importance. I would love to hear your ideas! See you there and until next time,
©Yvonne Garris 2014 all rights reserved
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