Personal Story

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

What Self-Advocacy Means to Me


Sorretie Jaro is Chair of an Advisory Committee for the Office of Developmental Disabilities. She has also served on the board of The Arc of Spokane and spent a year as a SARTAC Fellow developing self-advocacy resources. She may be reached at

Self-advocacy means speaking up for myself about what is important. As a self-advocate, I’ve gained the experience of talking with a legislator about a bill that is important to the community and I’ve joined organizations focused on the rights of people with disabilities. I taught students about self-advocacy, self determination, and leadership. I taught them how to run meetings according to Robert’s Rules of Order. Teaching students about advocacy skills made an impact not only on them, but on me. Getting involved with advocacy organizations has taught me how I can represent something. It gave me reasons to feel proud. It allowed me to speak words that make a difference in people’s lives and futures. 

Illustration of self-advocate, Sorretie Jaro, smiling.