Know Your Rights: Fact Sheets About Disability Laws

These fact sheets provide information about U.S. laws that protect the rights of people with disabilities, plus one on finding social support for community participation. RTC researchers and staff created them as a resource for participants in our current intervention, the Research and Training Center on Promoting Interventions for Community Living (RTC/PICL).

Advocacy Training Package: A Step-by-Step Guide to Advocating for Change for People with Disabilities (PDF)

This 2018 training manual teaches people with disabilities and others to advocate effectively for their disability-related concerns. It updates the Action Letter Portfolio (see below) with new chapters on using email and social media to make change.  Author: E Zhang.

NOTE: This PDF contains fillable Word forms. If your browser doesn't support it, you can 1) download the document and open it with Adobe or 2) download these Word forms: Advocacy Concern Task Analysis and Advocacy Letter Template.

Your Action Planning Guide for Promoting Full Community Participation Among People with Disabilities (PDF)

This resource for independent living centers and other community-based initiatives supports efforts to bring about community change that facilitates community participation. Authors: G. White, J. Schultz, C. Holt, S. Obermeier.

Action Letter Portfolio

This self-administered training manual designed to teach people with disabilities and others to write effective advocacy letters contains worksheets, exemplary letters, a reference section with information on disability policy, and information on analyzing disability concerns. See the Advocacy Training Package above for an updated version. Authors: G. White, D. Nary, and R. Thomson.

Finding and Using Data for Advocacy

This how-to guide from the RTC:Rural in Montana is a resource that can be used to supplement an advocacy skill building workshop, or as a stand-alone resource for anyone who would like to use data to support their advocacy goals. The guide was developed and updated from previous products developed by our Research and Training Center on Independent Living.

Advocacy Skills in Action
Advocacy groups can assign individuals to monitor community events and report relevant issues back to the group, which then holds meetings to analyze issues, plan appropriate actions, stimulate commitment for implementing projects, and review the results of their efforts as described in this RTC/IL Forum newsletter article. Authors: F. Balcazar and T. Seekins

A Guide for Personal Testimony: The Art of Using Your Personal Experiences to Influence Policy Decisions
Because the quality of life in any community is partially determined by its laws and policies, this booklet shows how to testify to help those making decisions understand issues in personal terms. Authors: T. Seekins and S. Fawcett

A Guide to Writing Letters to Public Officials
Expressing your opinion can influence decisions made in your community, and this booklet explains what, why, and how to write letters that can make a difference. Authors: T. Seekins and S. Fawcett

A Guide to Writing Letters to the Editor
Learning how to write a letter to the local media as illustrated in this publication can make a difference in issues concerning you. Authors: T. Seekins and S.B. Fawce

A People’s History of the Independent Living Movement
A who’s who of advocates starting with Gini Laurie, this lively history chronicles the independent living movement through those who campaigned for disability rights and services. Author: C. Levy

Communication Skills Smooth Way for Advocates
The guidelines presented in this RTC/IL Forum article characterize successful advocacy efforts. Authors: T. Seekins and F. Balcazar

Group Takes Action on Parking Problem
To solve the problem of handicapped parking experienced by citizens with disabilities, an advocacy group devised a successful action plan described in this RTC/IL Forum article. Authors: Y. Suarez de Balcazar and S. Fawcett

Health Care: Improving Access to Health Care for Kansans with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
In this white paper, Center researchers provide information gathered from Kansans with IDD, along with recommendations for advocates and policymakers to improve access. Authors: V. Renault and M. Hodgesmith.

The No/Know Way Guide
Offering practical information on understanding why research is useful, this resource booklet describes what research is and teaches readers where to find research information and how to use it. Authors: K. Klatt, R. Martin, R. Buchanan, and G.W. White

Taking Action on the Issue of Handicapped Parking
Based on the experiences of several communities in discussing parking and a year-long action project by a Consumer Advisory Committee in one of the cities, this guide describes a method to help consumers act on local handicapped parking issues. Authors: Y. Suarez de Balcazar and S. B. Fawcett

Health Care Advocacy

Please see our resources for Health Care Providers.

Our Helpful Links page also lists advocacy products from other organizations, such as this guide: “Take Charge!” A Reproductive Health Guide for Women with Disabilities.


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