Being a self-advocate involves making your own choices about all aspects of your life. This includes where and how you live, where you work, who your friends are, what you do in your free time, and more. Like anyone with or without autism, being a self-advocate means you know yourself better than anyone! You know your strengths, what your interests are, the activities you enjoy, and areas you want to work on. Autistic individuals can choose self-advocacy goals that are important to them, and families and schools can assist you in deciding on and reaching your goals.  

 Some examples of self-advocacy skills are below:

  • School: participating in or leading your Individualized Education Program (IEP)
  • Work: disclosing your disability or asking for an accommodation such as a checklist of daily tasks
  • Home: getting yourself up with an alarm
  • Community: making your own haircut appointment is advocating for yourself  

There are many ways autistic children and young adults can learn to self-advocate and families and caregivers can foster self-advocacy skills. This can start at an early age and continue into middle and high school, and life after high school.

 Note: Please note that language is alternated between person-first language (i.e., young adult with autism) and identity-first language (i.e., autistic young adult) on our website. We recognize that everyone’s experiences and perspectives are unique, and our goal is to show respect for all.

Connecting with START

START Resources for Self-Advocates

State and National Resources for Self-Advocates

  • Autism Speaks: Person with Autism Resources: includes many resources for autistic individuals including apps, books, articles, toolkits, employment information, self-advocate articles and blogs, and more
  • Autistic Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN): includes information on beliefs about autism, information about autism, action alerts, and resources
  • Autism Spectrum News (ASN): provides information related to autism to self-advocates, families, and providers
    • Browse Articles by Topic: articles related to adults, policy, sexuality, technology, transition to adulthood, webinars, relationships, neurodiversity, law, housing, financial planning, education, diet, community engagement, diagnosis, advocacy, and more
  • Organization for Autism Research (OAR): Self-Advocates
    • High School: includes online and downloadable information on scholarships, transition guide, and more
    • College Central: includes free guide, Finding Your Way: A College Guide for Students on the Spectrum
    • Employment : includes information on OAR’s employment program: HIRE Autism, information for employers, information for job seekers, and other resources
    • Sex Ed for Self-Advocates: includes online learning modules related to public versus private, puberty, healthy relationships, consent, dating 101, sexual orientation and gender identity, online relationships, and more
  • Dr. Stephen Shore: self-advocate and autistic professor of special education at Adelphi University; has written books that include: College for Students with Disabilities, Understanding Autism for Dummies, Ask and Tell, and Beyond the Wall. Dr. Shore serves on the board of Autism Speaks, and is one of the first two autistic board members in its history.
  • Uniquely Human Podcast: expands the conversation on autism and neurodiversity by amplifying the voices of autistic individuals and thought leaders in providing insightful, cutting-edge and practical information about the autistic experience.
  • Wrong Planet (Alex Plank, self-advocate and founder): started by an autistic self-advocate, provides actives discussions and forums related to life with autism, lifestyles, becoming independent, topical discussion (e.g. gaming, television and film, computers-math-science, politics, religion), age and gender discussions, women’s discussions, and much more. Also offers videos by self-advocates and others; information on relationships and dating, parenting, school and jobs, and therapies and services; and more.

Page last modified April 2, 2024