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Self Advocacy Saranac Lake

Tutorial Videos

TLCIL is now beginning to produce tutorial videos for people with disabilities and their allies. We look forward to continually updating this section so check back often for new videos.

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The vidoes in this series deal with self-advocacy generally, in schools, at DSS and in employment.

What is Self-Advocacy?

“An individual’s ability to effectively communicate, convey, negotiate or assert his or her own interests, desires, needs and rights. It involves making informed decisions and taking responsibility for those decisions” (VanReusen et al., 1994).

Tips for Self-Advocacy:

Be Self-Aware

In order to advocate for yourself, you need to know yourself, including your disability. Be prepared to clearly describe your disability. This involves knowing your strengths and your weaknesses.

Know Your Needs

With a clear understanding of your disability, you can assess types of accommodations you may need in order to obtain equal access. The better you know how your disability affects you, the more effective you can be in determining what assistance you need. Evaluate accommodations that you have received in the past, learn about different types of accommodations for your disability category, and assess areas in which you are having difficulty. Don’t be afraid to brainstorm ideas with our staff here at Tri-Lakes Center for Independent Living.

Utilize Support

A person who self-advocates should not feel alone. Good self-advocates know how to ask questions and get help from other people.

Self-Advocacy Videos

Practice Assertiveness

Being assertive does not mean aggressively making demands. It does mean knowing your rights and vocalizing your needs. It involves taking responsibility for your disability and not expecting others to problem solve or make decisions for you.

Develop Self-Confidence

One of the things that can prevent a person from being a strong self-advocate is shame regarding a disability diagnosis. This causes a person to hide their disability and avoid asking for assistance that is needed. Studying about the disability civil rights movement, learning about disability from a diversity or cultural perspective, finding peer support among other people with disabilities and learning to value the strengths you have developed as a result of having a disability can all assist you in gaining self-confidence. Having a disability is nothing to be ashamed of, neither is requesting accommodations that allow you to have equal access.

“I went in for help applying for SSDI, and even when lawyers couldn’t help me, the center was there for me and won my case!“

Cynthia T.

“TLCIL is the last, true peer advocate organization in the county. They improve the quality of life in Franklin County by bringing organizations and resources together, meeting individuals where they're at and working directly with them to help ensure good outcomes. They work to empower instead of enable, to raise up instead of push along, and to defend where needed.”

Jason M.


What Our Consumers Say About Us


It's not about the work, it's about the people we work for.

Thank you to all of our consumers, their families and friends who have allowed us to be a part of their team and grow together.

“TLCIL has been a lifesaver for me. Mary, Susan, Kevin and staff were able to advocate for me when I was too ill to do it for myself. They made me aware of community resources I didn’t know existed or was even eligible for. Mary helped me through a devastating period of my life, from encouraging me to seek help for my mental illness and teaching me how to advocate for myself. This agency worked with me for two years, always with a friendly, knowledgeable attitude to help me win my disability case. TLCIL helped me get my life back and boosted my self-esteem in the process. I’ll never be able to express how grateful I am for all they’ve done for me especially during a pandemic when other services were halted. We brainstormed, problem solved and even laughed a little. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

C. Jock