Advocacy for People with Disabilities

Advocacy means speaking up for what you want or need.

For people with disabilities, the ability to advocate for oneself is essential. For many people, group advocacy is also an effective way to make changes in systems, policies and procedures that affect their daily lives.

The RTC/IL provides a variety of resources related to advocacy for people with disabilities.

Advocacy Products

These publications offer guidance for writing advocacy letters and conducting campaigns.

Helpful Links

National and local advocacy organizations are listed.


Our research centers include individual projects that involve advocacy directly or indirectly:

Why Advocate?

The RTC/IL’s Action Letter Portfolio explains the importance of advocacy this way:

"People with disabilities face a variety of disability concerns that must be addressed to allow greater personal dignity, choice, and independence. The passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 (FHAA) have given people with disabilities valuable tools to make needed changes. But, in order for the ADA and other such laws to be effective tools for change, people with disabilities must bring their concerns to the attention of those who can effect change.

"While many of these concerns can be addressed by advocacy groups at the local, state, and national levels, individuals with disabilities can also make their voices heard to effect significant changes in their own neighborhoods and communities. In order to bring about change more quickly and efficiently, consumers with disabilities should develop and improve their personal advocacy skills."

Advocacy in Action

People in wheelchairs and on foot march in Washington, D.C. to advocate for disability rights.

Disability advocates march in Washington, D.C. to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act in July 2015.

The empty wheelchair with the hat honors Justin Dart, who is considered the father of the ADA.

The rally was sponsored by the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL).

See our Facebook albums for more photos from the rallies in 2015 and previous years.

For example: people with the same condition are not the same.

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