February 9th, 2021

We Are All Advocates

How do you define advocacy? What does being an advocate mean to YOU? 

To us, advocacy means three things:

“Disclosing to my employer to ensure that I receive the work accommodations I need, like receiving my performance evaluation ahead of time. I like to have the written form in advance, as I have a Non Verbal Learning Disability (NVLD) that affects my processing speed.” – Erin Mayo

“Advocacy means ensuring that my and others’ rights are protected and that our voices are heard; to be an advocate is to make positive change and improve quality of life for and with marginalized communities.” – Adam Fishbein

“To raise awareness among less privileged communities of the delicate matters of learning differences and how they impact the academic lives of students, and to raise awareness about how people with LD can make a positive impact in the lives of everyone.” – Abner Lozano

Share with us what being an advocate means to you by tagging #WeAreAllAdvocates and @ncldorg on social media!

We like to think about advocacy in two ways here at NCLD and the Young Adult Leadership Council. This can be described as “Big A” and “Little a” advocacy:

  • “Big A” Advocacy
    • This is organized advocacy that happens around a specific issue, legislative priority, or candidate. Some examples include:
      • Students advocate for their university board of regents to provide additional funding for its Disability Services Center
      • You meet with your Senator to ask for additional federal financial aid assistance to students during COVID-19. 
  • “Little a” advocacy:
    • We consider these smaller-scale, but not less important, actions that you take to advocate for yourself or others:
      • Asking for support in school
      • Speaking up for yourself or others
      • Fighting for your IEP or 504 accommodations

Every single day, students with learning and attention issues practice self-advocacy. We wanted to compile a list of ideas of how you can start your advocacy journey:

Advocacy Efforts from NCLD

Over the past year, NCLD amplified our community’s voices to protect student’s rights under IDEA (the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) and spoke out to Congress to prevent the Department of Education from rolling back regulations that protect the rights of students with disabilities. NCLD launched the #MyIDEAMatters Campaign and because of the support of our community, Congress prevented significant waivers of IDEA 

We invite you to get involved and advocate for yourself and others, to make a difference even in a small way; your actions can make an impact to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities.

This blog was based off of a presentation that was hosted at the Eye to Eye Organizing Institute in January, 2021 which was facilitated by Erin Mayo, Abner Lozano, Adam Fishbein and moderated by Joey Hunziker, Director of Young Adult Initiatives at NCLD. 

The Latest From NCLD

See what NCLD has been advocating for and get the most recent news on learning and attention issues.

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