Self Advocacy Tips for SCI


Spinal cord injury (SCI) comes with many challenges. Whether it’s being proactive about your health, making ends meet financially, or just getting from point A to B, by advocating for ourselves, we can play a role in ensuring we have access to appropriate services and benefits. Americans with disabilities are protected by legislation and entitled to rights that aim to afford us equal opportunities in society. In many circumstances though, we must advocate for these rights to be met.

There are multiple ways to advocate for yourself.

Know Your Injury

Advocating for our health needs is a big part of SCI life. But in order to access the health care we need, first we need to know what those needs are. Become familiar with your injury. Discuss your specific health, personal care, and physical therapy needs with SCI professionals.

Know Your Rights

The Americans with Disabilities Act mandates that employers offer reasonable accommodations for employment and education. It also holds businesses accountable for installing ramps and otherwise making buildings accessible. Self advocacy in this context might look like encouraging employers to purchase adaptive software or a desk you can roll up to. Alternatively it could look like filing complaints with the ADA regarding consistently broken elevators prohibiting access to classrooms.

Claim Your Benefits

In the U.S. people with disabilities who meet certain income requirements are entitled to multiple federal and state programs which provide healthcare and financial assistance. Apply for these services. If you need help, you can contact the social services department at the hospital or your local Department of Economic Security. If you have qualified for these services and find them unsatisfactory, you can file grievances.

Find Your Allies

Another great way to advocate for your rights is to find your community. There are multiple disability and spinal cord injury nonprofits which offer peer support in which you can discuss ways to further advocate for your rights, inclusion, health and accessibility.

Use Your Voice

You know you’re rights and entitlements. Employers, educators, business owners, health professionals and social service agents do, too, but they may not always act accordingly. Fortunately you can use your voice to remind them. You can take your voice to appropriate representatives in government and to the news media.

Seek Legal Counsel From a Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer

If you need help advocating for your rights, or need guidance in pursuing a claim against any entity which may have violated your rights, you can seek legal counsel. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.