The Alliance is a Resource!

Through The Alliance website and Facebook page, self-advocates and allies can find a variety of learning and advocacy opportunities including:
• Issues of The Alliance’s monthly newsletter
• Recorded webinars
• Links to legislative and self-advocacy resources
• And much more!

Supported Decision-Making Fact Sheet

“Everyone has the right to make decisions about their own lives.”

Supported Decision-Making is a way for a person with a disability (PWD) to get the help they need with thinking about options, making choices, and letting others know what decisions they made. Click here to view/download the Supported Decision-Making Fact Sheet.

Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Sex Education Implementation

The Alliance has been part of the Illinois Department of Human Services’ Division of Developmental Disabilities Sex Education Implementation Oversight Committee as well as subcommittees.  In addition, self-advocates and The Alliance have participated in the following:
  • Self-advocates advocated for sex education and wanted to play a role in how this was provided to them.
  • Self-advocates through The Alliance testified in stakeholder meetings, submitted witness slips and testified before the legislature.
  • Self-advocates and The Alliance have been active members of the Sex Ed Workgroup and the work of its subcommittees.
  • The Alliance conducted focus groups to make sure the voices of self-advocates were central to the implementation of the new law.

Want to learn more? 

Illinois Self-Advocacy Alliance, Inc. stands with #BlackLivesMatter

On June 26, 2020, The Alliance released Statement on Racial Justice .   We at the Illinois Self Advocacy Alliance hereby reaffirm our commitment, energy and intent to work in collaboration with our Alliance partners and those we serve to actively fight against racism and oppression.  We commit to actively support, empower and include diverse people of color voices in our work to advocate for a more inclusive society.

COVID-19 Resources for Marginalized Communities in Illinois

April 2020 – Chicagoland DPOCC (Disabled People of Color Coalition) and the Illinois Self-Advocacy Alliance, Inc. are excited to share the following resource available in both English and Spanish: COVID-19 Resources for Marginalized Communities in Illinois. This centralized list of resources is for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in marginalized communities; these marginalized communities include people of color, people in the LGBTQIA (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgendered, Questioning/Queer, Intersexed, Asexual) community, and immigrants.

COVID-19 Resources for Marginalized Communities (English) – April 2020

COVID-19 Resources for Marginalized Communities (Spanish) – April 2020

Thank you to The Arc of Illinois and the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities (ICDD) for funding this resource.

Legislative Advocacy:

February 2020 – The Alliance, in partnership with the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities, recently released several resources about legislative advocacy of filing Witness Slips. The resources include

Self Advocacy:

On June 9, 2020 Division of Developmental Disabilities Director Allison Stark announced that Community Day Services (CDS) programs may reopen September 1, 2020 if Illinois continues to meet identified goals in the Restore Illinois Phase process.

Many self-advocates have shared that they are not receiving information about the reopening of their CDS programs, and they would like to advocate for themselves to learn more.  This resource serves as a guide to help self-advocates “speak up and speak out” to ask the questions and get the information that is important to them.  Advocacy Resource – Re-Opening of CDS – July 2020

Many self-advocates have been wondering what the process for returning is and what CDS will look like when they return.  Whether self-advocates return to CDS on September 1 or beyond, this is important information to “Know Before You Go”. Advocacy Resource – Know Before You Go – July 2020

Self-Advocacy Groups Taking Care of Business – August 2020
The Alliance is excited to share its newest resource, Self Advocacy Groups Taking Care of Business.  Project Specialists Jae Jin Pak and Tracey Wyant developed this resource to help advisors and allies prepare for online self-advocacy meetings.  Whether you are planning for your 1st online self-advocacy meeting or your 31st, we hope you discover something to take your self-advocacy meetings to the next level!
YOU’RE ON BOARD! A Short Guide for People with Disabilities Who Are On Agency Boards and Committees by Amy Walker, Illinois Voices Project, © 2007.
Robert’s Rules of Order is standard set of rules to run orderly meetings with maximum fairness to all members.  Check out an easier to understand version at Roberts Rules of Order.
Do you receive Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services through a Developmental Disability Waiver? Learn about your rights! Check out the accessible version of It’s My Right – DHS Rights – Accessible Version – June 2017.  It was developed with input from self-advocates in Illinois and support from The Alliance. The Accessible Version is meant to support greater understanding and advocacy of the rights of individuals receiving services in the Medicaid Home and Community-Based Developmental Disability Waivers programs.  
Have an issue/concern you want to change?  Check out Got Time – Advocating for An Issue or Concern (c) 2018 for ideas of what you and your self-advocacy group can do to share your message and make changes!
Use this checklist to see how “healthy” your self-advocacy group is! Alliance Top Ten List for Healthy Self-Advocacy Groups.
The Culture of Self-Advocacy: An Environmental Checklist can be used individually, as a self-advocacy group to find out any gaps in self-advocate empowerment and involvement, and make a plan of improvement.  Areas on the checklist include Learning Opportunities; Support Staff; and Supporting Personal Power.  View the checklist at Culture of Self-Advocacy: An Environmental Checklist.

Public Speaking:

Want to learn more about speaking in front of groups?  Check out the Speaking In Front of Groups resource that shares how to: Be Prepared; Your Image: Looking and Sounding Good; How to Get Your Audience to Listen; and What is Your Message?  


The SABE My Technology Handbook answers questions that most of us who are new or just learning about technology ask.  This Handbook uses easy to understand directions and step by step pictures to teach these skills. Remember it was written by people with disabilities for people with disabilities.  You can learn how to find the right computer, tablet, smart phone, apps and programs that will work best for you. Also, you can learn how to stay safe when using the computer, security options and how to use the internet.  Then we have social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Skype) BloggingVlogging, Conference Calls, GoToMeeting and Webinars.  Tgge

Healthy Sexuality:

The National Council on Independent Living’s new project helps people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) learn about sex.

Sexual & Domestic Violence Prevention & Support:

The Alliance is a partner on the Illinois Imagines Chicago team (still meeting).
Illinois Imagines was a statewide project (funded until 2018) to improve services to people with disabilities who have been victims of sexual violence. The project was directed by the Illinois Department of Human Services, Illinois rape crisis centers, disability service agencies and self-advocates. Collaborative teams have been established in 30 communities across the state. 
Visit Illinois Imagines to find lots of information including tool kits and training materials, resources, recorded webinars, and more!
The Alliance is a partner on the Envision Illinois grant, helping to transform services in Illinois into a survivor-centered, seamless, responsive and sustainable system that fully meets the needs of Deaf people and people with disabilities who are survivors of domestic violence. 
The two brochures, I Can Be Safe, and Am I Safe?, were developed to help Deaf people and people with disabilities plan for their safety.  Check them out at I Can Be Safe Brochure and Am I Safe? Check out the Employment & Economic Opportunity for Persons with Disabilities Recommendations Report that was just released on 2.1.18!  EEOPD Recommendations Report – 2017


What is #EmployUsIllinois?  Employment for persons with disabilities is essential to keeping your community connected. Having a paid job gives them a sense of purpose and meaning, a way to support themselves, and like anyone — the opportunity to pursue dreams. This campaign and the contents of this social media toolkit are designed to bring more attention to the importance of meaningful employment for persons with disabilities in Illinois. Many employers have embraced and changed hiring practices. This campaign is meant to also highlight those companies who have taken the chance and made a change, regardless of the important laws and legislation. They are finding a seat at the table for individuals with disabilities and have recognized the positive impact it has on employee morale and business itself.  #EmployUsIllinois Social Media Toolkit 6-22-2019

Support for Advisors & Allies:

For Advisors Only Webinars  Are you an advisor?  Do you support a self-advocacy group?  Check out the these recorded webinars: For Advisors Only: Monthly Meet Up – Planning for 2022 recorded live on 12.27.2021.  View the recording here and the PowerPoint slides here. For Advisors Only: Monthly Meet Up – Got Time? Advocating for An Issue/Concern recorded live on 10.25.2021.  View the PowerPoint slides here and the Action Plan resource here. For Advisors Only: Monthly Meet Up – Meeting Ideas Swap recorded live on 9.27.2021 For Advisors Only: Monthly Meet Up – Action Planning record live on April 26, 2021. For Advisors Only: Monthly Meet-Up – Self-Care recorded live on 3.22.2021. The work of helping requires professionals to open their hearts and minds to those they support – unfortunately, this very process of empathy is what makes helpers vulnerable to being profoundly affected by their work.  We are at a pivotal moment in prioritizing mental health and self-care.  While the world is becoming more open about sharing mental health struggles, many people do not know how to navigate it at work.  Professional self-care is self-care that is related to your work life. That includes practicing self-care while at work and adopting self-care practices that lead to a healthy work-life balance.  This webinar was facilitated by Mary Ratliff, Program Director for the Illinois Family Violence Coordinating Council (IFVCC) and the Safe From the Start Program at the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority.
For Advisors Only: How to Be An Effective Advisor in the Time of COVID-19, recorded live on 7.28.2020.  Self-advocacy allies and advisors have always been flexible, but this is a whole new level of yoga!  Are you ready to take your flexibility to the next level as you consider: What will self-advocacy meetings look like?  How will we gather safely?  How do we continue supporting people in developing advocacy and self-advocacy skills?  What may personal, agency, community and statewide advocacy look like?  There are many questions with many possible answers.  Stretch those ally and advisor muscles as you learn with and from each other in this webinar facilitated by Tracey Wyant, Project Specialist.
For Advisors Only: REFRESH Your Knowledge, recorded live on 4.11.19.  Join with Alliance advisors as we journey through the history, mission, vision of The Alliance along with the goals of the grant.  We’ll refresh our knowledge of member groups and membership levels as well as gather ideas on how best to share information in effective ways.  
For Advisors Only: REFRESH Your Skills, recorded live on 5.9.19.   Learn with and from other Alliance advisors as you REFRESH your advisor skills of knowing your responsibilities, using people first language, balance, listening, asking who/what/when/where questions, and much more! 
For Alliance Advisors Only: REFRESH Your Commitment, recorded live on 8.8.19.Continuing on our REFRESH journey, join Alliance advisors as we welcome new member groups, learn about a new feature to the monthly newsletter as well as upcoming challenge opportunities, and explore ways to make changes in the culture of self-advocacy. 

Other Resources:

Contact your local legislators and tell them you think is important for people with disabilities.  Find your elected officials at:
If you would like to review current legislation or learn more about the Illinois General Assembly, this site will help:
Learn more about the Americans with Disabilities Act:
Become more disability aware of customer service and employment:
Learn about Social Capital and how to use it to enhance opportunities for people with disabilities:
Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities:
State of Illinois Developmental Disabilities:
Access Living Youth Center: (SABE)
Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered:
Self Advocacy Online:
The Family Support Network:
The ARC of Illinois:
Vote Smart:

Illinois Voices Resources:

  • Illinois Voices is citizens coming together and speaking out as one for social justice.
  • Illinois Voices is making changes in agencies that serve people with developmental disabilities, to make them more inclusive and supportive of the people they serve.
  • Illinois Voices is fighting for progressive changes to the service system.
  • Illinois Voices is working to get something new in your life if you have a developmental disability.
Most of all, Illinois Voices is changing attitudes and changing lives…
Through a grant funded by the Illinois Department of Human Services, Illinois Voices helped thousands of people accomplish all of the goals listed above and more. Its vision was not only to teach self-advocacy skills to people with developmental disabilities and those who support them, but to have their self-advocacy efforts result in real change. Because of Illinois Voices, many people finally found the courage to speak up for what they want and need. They found the resources and tools they need to make the positive changes they desire. Most importantly, they found a new and revolutionary perspective on their roles as people with developmental disabilities and the staff who support them, which is this:

Even though all people are created equal, all people also have equal power to make changes.

Even though the Illinois Voices grant ended in 2011, the resources and tools continue to provide support in self-advocacy skills. 
Check out the resources below!