Title: Taking the power: from oppression towards independence
Author: People First
Publisher: London: People First, 2007. 253p.
Self-advocacy by people with learning disabilities was unthinkable three decades ago. Today, people with learning disabilities are speaking out and organizing themselves to seek better, non-institutional living situations, social and political equality, and decent jobs with reasonable pay. This collection by self-advocates provides information about the origins of the self-advocacy movement and the move towards independence.
Title: Self-advocacy in historical perspective
Author: Buchanan, Ian; Walmsley, Jan
Reference: British Journal of Learning Disabilities, 34(3), September 2006, pp.133-138.
This paper looks at the history of self advocacy in England and considers different constructions of self-advocacy as they have emerged over the last 25 years. The authors highlight the tension between self-advocacy as a means for individuals to gain a voice and affirm identity and self-advocacy as a collective movement representing the interests of a particular group.
Title: Building bridges? The role of research support in self-advocacy.
Author: Chapman, Rohhss; McNulty, Niall
Reference: British Journal of Learning Disabilities, 32(2), June 2004, pp.77-85.
The Carlisle Research Group ‘Co-op’ is a group which aims to carry out ‘person-led’ research in a way that changes ideas and makes life better for people with learning disabilities. Six of the eight members in the group are labelled as having a learning disability, the two other people act in a role of involved support. In this article the members of the group with a support role explain what they do, highlight the changes occurring within the group, and open up a debate about the research support role in the self-advocacy movement. The article also includes a case study on the process of writing an article for a journal article.
Title: Empowerment, self-advocacy and resilience.
Author: Goodley, Dan
Reference: Journal of Intellectual Disabilities, 9(4), December 2005, pp.333-343.
This article critiques the relationship between the aims of “learning disability” policy and the realities of the self-advocacy movement. A previous study found that self-advocacy can be defined as the public recognition of the resilience of people with learning difficulties. In the current climate of Valuing People, partnership boards and ‘user empowerment’, understanding resilience is crucial to the support of authentic forms of self-advocacy. This article aims to address such a challenge. First, understandings of resilience in relation to self-empowerment and self-advocacy are briefly considered. Second, the current policy climate and service provision rhetoric are critically explored. Third, it is argued that we need to recognize how self-advocacy groups celebrate resilience through a variety of social and identity-shifting actions. How current policy responds to these aspects of resilience is questioned. It is concluded that the lived reality of self-advocacy needs to be foregrounded in any attempt to understand empowerment.