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Youth Self-Advocacy and Empowerment

Advocating for Myself

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This page is dedicated to empowering you to become your own best advocate including identifying and pursuing what is "Your Good Life".

The resources found here will help you learn how to: advocate for yourself during IEP meetings, prepare for life after high school, look out for yourself, tell people what you need, and how to be responsible. Self-advocacy skills will help you in many areas of your life including school, work and community.

We hope you enjoy learning to advocate for yourself by watching videos, reading comic strips and checking out our additional resources.

A Family's Transition Experience in Ohio

This video was produced to enhance the Establishing Families as Partners in the Secondary Transition Planning Process learning series.  Please note that this video captures the unique experience of one family's transition journey. It is not representative of all experiences. All students and their families have unique funds of knowledge, experiences, and visions for success that should be honored by professionals supporting the transition journey. This narrative serves as a glimpse into one story, aiming to ground our learning in lived experience. Please approach with respect and use it as a starting point for reflection and discussion.  

Summit 2023 - Session 7: Finding Your Voice: A Journey of Self-Discovery

Michael is attending his first year of college at Bowling Green State University/Firelands Campus in Ohio after being engaged in several alternative learning environments since the 4th grade. Michael faced a number of barriers from his school due to his chronic and invisible conditions. His journey has been a difficult one, but he has overcome the challenges he faced with the strong support of his family, friends and a few amazing educators who took the time to invest in him.

Limitless League

The Limitless Movie Demonstrates the power of working together for good! This movie is the product of PC Workshop’s summer program.  One of their amazing people, Tyler Ruiz, designed comic books based off the character he created, “Static Boy”.  This spurred the thought of bringing Static Boy to life with a little help from his friends at PC Workshop.  They had a large amount of people this summer help create this movie in their Movie Class, with clients (including transition age students) assisting with set design, script writing, logo creation, graphic art, acting, and they even made the musical score in-house!  

Find the college that’s right for you 

5 Tips for Preparing for College Success

You’re starting to make plans to attend college, here are
5 Tips for Preparing for College Success to help you in your planning process.

Develop a support system

5 Tips for Success in College

You’ve graduated from high school, been accepted into college, and now you’re attending college.
Here are 5 Tips for Success in College to help you get the supports and services you need while you’re in college.

YEP! Youth Empowerment Project

Is focused on youth interviewing other youth about their experiences with self-advocacy and empowerment. The goal is to provide a platform for young people to share their stories and offer insights into how they have navigated challenges and advocated for themselves. YEP! recognizes the importance of the youth perspective and seeks to empower young people by giving them a voice and providing relatable role models for other youth to learn from. This video series aims to provide valuable resources for young people as they navigate their own journeys in self-advocacy and empowerment

Find the Captain in You

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

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”!

Download Issue #1 - My Adventures in Youth Empowerment
Download Issue #2 - Why Self-Advocacy is Important to me!
Download Issue #3 - Why Self-Advocacy is Important to me continued!

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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?

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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.

Youth Resources

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Who should read this transition guide? 
If you are a youth between the ages of 16 and 21 with a disability, we wrote this guidebook for you and your family. During transition, the period of time when you move from high school to adult life, it will be important for youth and their families to take an active role in transition planning.

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Prepare for life after graduation!
OCECD offers the interactive "It's My Turn" (IMT) and the "Goals Planning Success" (GPS) self-determination trainings available for students age 14 to graduation to help guide students in fulfilling their hopes and dreams after high school.

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Online educational games are popular resources for many parents and teachers. For deaf middle and high school students, there are very few accessible online games and resources. That’s why Deafverse, the first-ever American Sign Language (ASL) accessible online game for deaf teenagers, was developed by a team of deaf creators and educators at the National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes.

Career Support for Students with Disabilities 14+
Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) helps students with disabilities beginning at age 14 get ready for what comes after high school.

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Ohio Youth Leadership Forum
Today, young people with disabilities have more options and opportunities than at any other time in our nation’s history. Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities’ Ohio Youth Leadership Forum (YLF) is a five-day career leadership training program for 11th and 12th grade high school students with disabilities.

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Communication cards 
for individuals who are Deaf or HOH.
Disclaimer: This visor card does not waive the user’s right to effective communication under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

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Do you have a communication Disability?
If you have a diagnosed communication disability, you can voluntarily enroll in a database that connects to the Law Enforcement Agencies Data System (LEADS). 

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Do you want to learn about transitioning to adult health care?
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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STABLE Account empowers individuals and families. Accountholders can save and invest without losing benefits such as Medicaid or SSI.

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Rise Up
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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Map It: What Comes Next? 

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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Ohio College2Career
Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) offers Ohio College2Careers (Ohio C2C) at public colleges and universities throughout Ohio to ensure college students with disabilities have the support they need to complete their degree and/or credential, earn higher wages, and meet the demands of tomorrow’s labor market.

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OCECD Newsletter

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Mental Health in Ohio Schools. Many children, parents, and educators in Ohio schools are facing mental health issues. Their emotional health can range from thriving to struggling.
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YEP! The Youth Empowerment Project

This video series is focused on youth interviewing other youth about their experiences with self-advocacy and empowerment. 
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Ideas that work, Office of special education programs, U.S. department of education.