Skip to main content

Youth Self-Advocacy and Empowerment

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!  

5 Tips for Preparing for College Success

Find the college that’s right for you 

Explore disability access services and support programs 

Get needed accommodations in place 

Amp Up your skills for college 

Make a plan to pay for college 

Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) 

YEP! Youth Empowerment Project

YEP! featuring Michael

Michael is a high school graduate in Northeast Ohio, who is preparing to attend community college in fall of 2023. 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.

Advocating for Myself
Learning how to advocate for yourself can greatly benefit you in various areas of life, including school, work, and your community. Advocating for yourself involves understanding your own needs and actively expressing them to ensure they are met. It is a skill that requires practice and development. If you're looking for valuable insights and practical advice on self-advocacy, this page is specifically designed to provide youth with information and resources.

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!

image from flyer, teens

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?

Embedded Image for:  (2023418124110697_image.jpg)
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

Image of Document
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.

Embedded Image for:  (2023530112538311_image.JPG)
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.

Image of game


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.

image of Document
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.

Photo of cards
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).

Photo of Flyer
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). 

Photo of Flyer
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. 

Embedded Image for:  (202341812303829_image.jpg)
STABLE Account empowers individuals and families. Accountholders can save and invest without losing benefits such as Medicaid or SSI.

Rise Up PDF Image
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.

Map it Logo

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.

Image of Document
Ohio College2Career
OOD offers Ohio College2Careers (Ohio C2C) at 15 public colleges and universities 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. 

Upcoming Events

Latest News

OCECD Newsletter

OCECD Newsletter

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.
More +
Banner Image

YEP! The Youth Empowerment Project

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