Hi, my name is Mia Peterson and I am a self-advocate! I want to encourage you to be a self-advocate too.

Mostly I think self-advocacy is speaking up for ourselves as much as we can. I know we all need help from each other. But that doesn’t mean we have to let others speak for us. When we know what we want, we have to tell others about it. We all need to make choices so we can feel good about ourselves.

Being a self-advocate might sound hard, but it isn’t. Here are some things you can do to be a self-advocate:

  1. If you don’t want to be labeled, tell people you don’t like it if they call you names that label you. I am a person with a disability, not a disabled person. I am a person with Down syndrome, not a Down syndrome person. You can ask others to use “People First language.”
  2. Learn to do as many things for yourself as you can, to be more independent. But remember that knowing when to ask for help is the most important thing to learn.
  3. Get involved in your community. We need to let others see the things we can do so they will think of our abilities and not our disabilities.
  4. Last, I think the most important part of self-advocacy is to speak up for ourselves. Don’t let others speak for you!

And I know, if I can do it, you can do it too!