Feature Issue on Self-Advocacy for People with Intellectual, Developmental, and Other Disabilities

From the Editors

Why talk about the Self-Advocacy Movement now?

So far in 2020, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) have faced new fears about being treated unfairly in medical decision-making and healthcare rationing. Many lost vital services and allies when their direct support professionals were unable to work. And many living in group settings – group homes, nursing homes, and institutions – were at a much higher risk of being infected by the coronavirus.

And it all happened as we mark the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act and honor the life of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who wrote the majority opinion in Olmstead v. L.C. (see Learning Together, Acting Together).

This issue of Impact explores the history of the Self-Advocacy Movement, including its shared history with the Civil Rights and Feminist movements of the 1960s and ’70s. Tapping into today’s issues, we asked self-advocates to share their thoughts about ableism and the multiplying effects when it combines with racism. Our authors found out what groups around the United States and the world are doing to build greater independence among people with IDD. We asked for their ideas for getting more young people involved in the Movement. One author talked about the culture of self-advocacy and some others dug into the tension around the term “self-advocate” itself.

Our message to readers is simply this: Self-advocacy is alive and well, but it needs all of us more than ever!

Cover of Impact magazine feature issue on self-advocacy.

This issue's cover is a collage of images including self-advocates Max Barrows, Ivanova Smith, Ryan Duncanwood, Nicole LeBlanc, and Shameka Andrews.