We Can Speak For Ourselves
Paul Williams and Bonnie Shoultz
Published in the highly-acclaimed Human Horizons Series, the pre-eminent list for people with disabilities, the elderly and the afflicted, and those who care for them, written by the leading experts.
The fundamental right of speaking for oneself has long been denied to mentally handicapped people, who have usually had decisions made for them about every detail of their lives. They have, in other words, been taught dependence.
In recent years, however, a great new movement has been growing, starting in the United States, to prove that people who can learn dependence can also learn independence. It has become known as the Self-Advocacy Movement, and through it, mentally handicapped people have been learning to formulate their own needs, to put forward their own demands and to campaign to win them.
People First of Oregon and Project 2 of Nebraska are two self-advocacy schemes in the USA whose stories are told in We Can Speak For Ourselves, together with accounts of similar projects in the United Kingdom.
As well as giving detailed models of existing projects, the book lists teaching materials and discussion suggestions around the themes of rights, responsibilities and campaigning methods. It also contains accounts in their own words from participants in self-advocacy projects, both in the UK and USA.