Self-Advocacy Hub | Organization for Autism Research

Self-Advocacy Hub


Self-advocacy (n.) is an individual’s ability to effectively communicate, convey, negotiate or assert his or her own interests, desires, needs, and rights.  It involves making informed decisions and taking responsibility for those decisions (VanReusen et al., 1994). Self-advocacy skills can be learned, and are crucial to develop in order for you to gain independence and make important decisions about your own life.

Featured Articles

These three students had a successful experience in college. You can too!

Three students, Capri, Haley, and Jamie, allowed us to interview them about their college experiences. Read their interviews to get a glimpse of how they self-advocate, manage academics, and navigate campus life.


About Capri

Hometown: Batavia, Ohio
University/Program: Studying Media Arts and Animation at the Art Institute of Ohio-Cincinnati
Autism Symptoms: Echolalia, stimming, routine dependence


About Haley

Hometown: Boca Raton, Florida
University/Program: Law, University of Miami. J.D. expected May 2018.
B.A. in Criminology & Law and B.S. in Psychology from University of Florida in 2015
Autism Symptoms: Major challenges in college included learning to live independently, executive functioning skills, and stress management.


About Jamie

Hometown: Webster, New York
University/Program: Sophomore studying Communications at Monroe Community College
Autism Symptoms: Stimming, verbal repetition


Want to go to college but don't know where to begin?

Here are some tips and checklists to help you best prepare for college.


What was college like for them?

Dena Gassner explains how her academic trajectory was so different from her son's, and why it's so important to be true to yourself.


When your chosen supporters are not your biological family

Tucker James Collins, a bright young man with Asperger Syndrome, shares his experience transferring colleges and getting the financial support he needed to gain true independence. Tucker graduated with honors from Drexel University.

More Articles

Finding Resources

Self-advocate Kat Albee highlights ways in which those on the spectrum can be resourceful and hold...

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External Resources

OAR is an excellent non-profit. For some families of individuals with autism, it is an essential first stop after they hear a diagnosis. The same goes for educators, law enforcement, and other professionals looking to learn about autism and foster acceptance within their community.

— Adult Self-Advocate

As the parent of an individual with autism, I have been impressed and helped by OAR’s commitment to disseminate evidence-based information through OAR’s Web site, resource guides, and monthly e-newsletter. I regularly recommend these resources to other caregivers, teachers, and therapists. It is wonderful to have an organization like OAR providing information we can trust!

—OAR Donor

I think what makes OAR special is the thought they put into every decision. Everything is personal, and every decision is made with the best interests of the people they’re serving: parents, professionals, military members, self-advocates, and families. They know that wading through research when you already have a lot on your plate isn’t easy, so they try to streamline the experience of parents and educators. They just… get it. Which is why their resources and fundraising just make sense and end up being so helpful. [They’re] the first place I’d send someone looking for autism resources, information, and fundraising opportunities.

—OAR Volunteer

A charity like OAR doesn’t succeed on its own.

We rely on people’s generosity, time, and assistance to help fund research studies, produce and distribute guides and more.

Donate to OAR