Advocacy

One of the five core services provided by Options is advocacy.  We assist with both personal advocacy and systemic advocacy.
 
 
Personal Advocacy
We provide persons with disabilities with information about their rights and disability laws so that they can effectively and confidently advocate for themselves. We also work with persons with disabilities if their efforts are not successful.
 
As a person with a disability you have the right to enjoy the same rights and privileges as a person without a disability. Being knowledgeable about your rights and privileges will allow you to claim those rights in an effective way. Self-advocacy means that you can “stick up for yourself.”
 
Having the confidence of knowledge empowers you and assists you with self-advocacy. Take the time to become familiar with what the Americans with Disabilities Act states and the laws of the State of Illinois that pertain to persons with disabilities. Options’ website has many helpful links to sites that will give you valuable information in our “Links” section. 
 
Options is happy to partner with you in your goal of self advocacy. Feel free to call us.
 
Systemic Advocacy
We work with state and federal leaders, as well as community municipalities, businesses, and organizations to assure equal access for people with disabilities to facilities, programs, and services. We encourage all persons with disabilities to become registered voters, to exercise their right to vote, and to contact their legislators to share their feelings on legislation. 
 
It is very difficult to be an independent person if access to stores, restaurants, doctors’ offices, or housing is blocked. The term “systemic advocacy” refers to changing the awareness, understanding, and cooperation of the public at large about an issue. 
 
For example, there are many laws that were passed to assure that people with disabilities can access public places. These laws pertain to parking, building accessibility, fair housing, etc. Options wants the doors of every business to be open to all. We want to partner with those who are designing, building, or remodeling so that persons with disabilities have access to them. We also want to help them avoid spending more money later on for costly retrofitting. 
 
We perform free site surveys and offer a written report on what needs to be done to bring parking lots and buildings into compliance. As a non-profit, we are mindful of funding, so we offer suggestions for solutions that are budget-friendly.
 
Our “Links” page also has helpful links to sites that give accurate information about accessibility. Please call us so we can work with you in making your business compliant with the law. Together, we can make a difference!
 
Systemic advocacy also refers to creating or changing policies and laws so that the rights of persons with disabilities are no less restrictive than those for persons without disabilities. Being an informed voter, actively voting, letting your legislators know your position on pending legislation, taking a leadership role on community boards, or assuming local, state, or federal office are just some of positive steps we can take to assure that our communities and our country remain accessible to all.