About Us

Our History

The Alliance was created in 2008 by a group of Illinois self-advocates. This group was part of a 2006 project funded by the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities to strengthen the self-advocacy movement in Illinois. During the project, this group spoke to over 800 self-advocates from across the state and learned a lot about what self-advocates want to make life better. Then, they presented what they learned to self-advocacy groups throughout the state. During this process, they realized that the best way to strengthen the self-advocacy movement in Illinois is to form a network of self-advocacy groups. The groups would speak with one voice and work together to make change. The group named itself The Illinois Self-Advocacy Alliance, or “The Alliance.”


What We Do

We work together to make life better in our communities and work to make services better for people with disabilities in our state.

Our focus is to empower people to speak up and speak out about what they want/need, don’t want/don’t need, action plan their goals and participate in advocacy at the personal, community and statewide levels.

We do this through education, trainings and individualized mentoring.

We want advocates and allies from around the state to speak together with one loud voice. We can do more when we all work together!


Current Partnerships


Envision Illinois is a statewide project to improve services to people with disabilities and Deaf people who have experienced domestic violence.  The project is directed by the Illinois Department of Human Services, Illinois domestic violence centers, disability services agencies and self-advocates.

Website HERE


Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS):

The Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) partnered with the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities and the Illinois Self-Advocacy Alliance, Inc. (The Alliance) to develop an updated Career Counseling presentation and process for sub minimum wage facilities. Self-advocates from sheltered workshops/not-for-profit disability service agencies are be co-presenters.

The DRS Career Counseling presentation titled, “Everyone Can Work and So Can You”, is designed to give participants a perspective on the various employment options available to them and hear from individuals with developmental disabilities who have successfully transitioned into Competitive Integrated Employment (CIE).

It is important that participants know they have options and are free to choose the kind of work that is right for them.

The presentation and process was designed by examining other State presentations and customizing
it for our needs in Illinois. Most importantly, self advocate co-presenters are being paid by The Alliance for the experience and expertise!


Board of Directors

The Alliance Board of Directors is made up of representatives from our member groups. We have 12 self-advocates on our board. They are:

  • Ralph H. (Jacksonville), Co-Chair
  • David T. (Evanston), Co-Chair
  • Sue B. (Jacksonville), Treasurer
  • Leanne K. (Downers Grove), Secretary
  • Matt P. (Evanston), Vice-Chair
  • Nestor G. (Evanston)
  • Jada T. (Chicago)



Want to share about The Alliance with friends?  Print out an Alliance brochure!  The brochure is available in English and in Spanish.

Alliance Brochure (English)

Alliance Brochure (Spanish)

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