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Youth Self-Advocacy and Empowerment

Advocating for Myself
Learning how to advocate for yourself could help you at school, at your job and in your community. Advocating for yourself means knowing what your needs are and speaking up for yourself to get your needs met. It takes practice! To hear tips from other students with disabilities who have learned to advocate for themselves in high school, at work, and at college, watch the videos in the collection below


High school students Nathan and Justin host a morning talk show with special guest, Captain Self-Advocacy. Watch as Captain Self-Advocacy rescues a student who is struggling to participate in his own IEP team meeting.

Disability Resources: A Student Perspective
Matt, Hilary, Roberto, Amanda, Patrick, Luke, and Santana are all college students with different disabilities. In this video, they share their stories about how their disabilities have affected them in college and how they got help from the Disability Resources Office. They also give their advice for high school students about how to advocate for yourself.


411 Disability Disclosure-
Disclosing your disability is a very personal decision. It means making an informed decision when or if to tell someone about your disability. Your decision will affect you at school, at work, and in your social life. In this video, Nellie, Alex, Nick, and Mimi talk about how they made their own decisions to disclose their disabilities, and how it changed things for them.


Youth Self-Advocacy Video


"When you believe in yourself, it's easier to speak up for what you need." - Michael

Michael is a high school junior living in Northeast Ohio. Quick wit and humor are integral to his approach in life. He has been engaged in several alternative learning environments since 4th grade.


He has found support and empowerment with the help of OCECD throughout the last seven years. Michael has been influenced by hearing the stories of others' and realizing that sharing his journey has provided him an opportunity to grow emotionally and mentally while bringing hope to other families in similar situations.

Youth Self-Advocacy

My Adventures in Youth Empowerment


The Ohio Coalition for the Education of Children with Disabilities has an exciting new resource to share for transition age youth! We have created the first installment of our “Youth Empowerment” comic series. This series will focus on empowering transition age youth to become self-advocates. We hope this resource will inform youth about youth empowerment, self-determination, self-advocacy and more. Stay tuned for more adventures in “Youth Empowerment”!






IEP Checklist for Teens

Use Your IEP Meetings to Learn How to Advocate for Yourself Self-advocacy is a key step in becoming an adult. It means looking out for yourself, telling people what you need, and knowing how to take responsibility. No one is born knowing these skills. Everyone has to learn them. Ready to begin learning?



A Guide for Transition Age Youth and Their Families

An Introduction to Transition

Transition refers to the process of moving from high school to the adult world. Beginning at age 14, all students who have IEPs are required to have transition goals developed each year during their IEP meeting.

There are two required transition goal areas: employment and post-secondary education/training. The third transition goal area is independent living which is recommended, but not required.


Youth Resources

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Communication cards for individuals who are Deaf or HOH.

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If you have a diagnosed communication disability, you can voluntarily enroll in a database that connects to the Law Enforcement Agencies Data System (LEADS). Through this data system, law enforcement is made aware that the driver, or a person in the vehicle, may have difficulty communicating with an officer.

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Youth, young adults, and families: Do you want to learn about transitioning to adult health care? These tools can help you learn about moving from pediatric to adult health care. 


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TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR FINANCIAL FUTURE THROUGH STABLE ACCOUNT. STABLE Account empowers individuals and families. Accountholders can save and invest without losing benefits such as Medicaid or SSI.

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Ohio Youth Leadership Forum

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This guide was developed by Disability Rights Ohio (DRO) for transition-aged youth from 14 to 21. Throughout this guide, you will find helpful information about situations you may go through as you become an adult. This guide is meant to be read as you need it, so you can feel confident to take on any problems as they come.


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Ohio College2Career

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This is a free, online, interactive training designed for transition-aged students who are deaf or hard of hearing. The training utilizes three questions: 1. Who Am I?, 2. What Do I Want?, 3. How Do I Get There? Video vignettes signed in ASL with spoken English and written transcription, self assessments, and a series of interactive questions guide students as they identify their goals and develop strategies to achieve them.

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