Choice and Self-Advocacy

Choice and Self-Advocacy

I was grateful to have
received lots of good feedback on the information I shared about independence and having support in the shadows. A huge part of independence is having choice and the skills for self-advocacy. Freedom to make choices is a human right. Each person needs to be the captain of their own ship. They may have a crew to provide support, but at the end of the day, the individual needs to make the final choices. We want to continue building skills to allow people to know their rights. One way we have demonstrated our commitment is by supporting individuals with taking the Exploring Diversity and Equity course, as well as the Disability Justice courses through Lambton College. Knowledge is power.

We want everyone to be treated with the highest level of respect and dignity. We want people to know we TRUST them to make choices and choose their own life path. Individuals should be supported to make informed decisions and know the rights and responsibilities that come with those choices. Where and how can more choices be provided? Individuals can and should be making choices about how they want to receive support, where they want to spend their time, how they want to spend their money, what type of living arrangements is best for them, the medical care they receive, what they want to wear (individual style), if they want to have friendships/ relationships, what goals and dreams they want to pursue, and so on. Think about the types of choices you make every single day and explore if you are providing the same opportunities for your loved ones or those you support. Dig deep and see where you are feeling worried, nervous, protective, or unsure and what barriers you feel exist to providing more choice. It takes A LOT of listening without judgement, some creative solutions, and the right kind of support, but it is possible to empower people to self-advocate and make their own choices. The BOSS team can help if you need some guidance.

Sara Clarke

Program Manager

Branching Out Support Services