Plain Language Summary: Policy and Advocacy

Policy and advocacy are important for improving the lives of people with and without disabilities. Policy is the rules and laws passed by the government. Policy is important because it affects each person on a day-to-day basis.

In the past, policies about disability-related topics assumed that people with disabilities needed to be “fixed” to live in the community. These types of policies separated people with disabilities from their communities and limited their opportunities to make choices for themselves.

More recently, policies about disability-related topics assume that disability is a natural part of the human experience. These policies focus more on changing our society and removing the barriers past policies have created. Policies made under this new assumption promote inclusion, equality, and greater access to quality services.

Policies that result in inclusion, equality, and quality services would not be possible without advocacy. Advocacy is speaking up for what matters to you. Disability advocates have worked hard to create better policies that affect people with disabilities. It is important to advocate for what matters to you because advocacy helps to improve the lives of those in our communities and ourselves.

There are many ways that you can advocate. For example, you can call or write a letter to your representatives on issues that are important to you. Representatives help to make and pass laws. You can also share information on topics that matter to you with your friends, family, and community through social media or talking with them. You could also find others who care about the same things you do and work together to educate your communities and representatives. To find out who your representatives are, use the Find Your Representative search tool.

To learn more, please read the full Policy and Advocacy fact sheet.

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