Involve People with Disabilities

Similar to the violence against women movement’s belief that victims are the experts, the disability movement uses the mantra “Nothing About Us Without Us.” Discussions on designing services to address the needs of individuals with disabilities should involve input from individuals with disabilities. Ask the disability organization that you’re partnering with if they’re working with self-advocates who may be interested in building their knowledge about the issue and create opportunities for them to get involved in your efforts to address it.

Resources You Can Use

  • Guide For Starting Empowerment Groups. Illinois Imagines, a statewide collaboration of disability, sexual assault, and self-advocates, created this guide for self-advocates and allies to start empowerment groups for women with disabilities. It includes considerations for starting and facilitating a group and features a curriculum with 21 topics to address, including icebreakers, handouts, relevant information, and activities.
  • Rural Practice Guidelines: Involving People with Disabilities as Members of Advisory Groups. Created by the Montana Disability and Health Program, this resource provides an overview of disability etiquette, how to recruit people with disabilities as advisory group participants, and tips on how to ensure physical access and access to written and oral information.
  • Checklist for Enhancing the Participation and Input of People with Disabilities. This resource, created by Independent Living Research Utilization, provides a checklist of things to consider when involving people with disabilities on advisory councils or committees, in focus groups, or when using other methods to incorporate their voices.