Speaking up for yourself – the first steps to being a self-advocate

Our Voice SA members with Karen Rogers & Alison Vivian
Ian Cummins1, Tiffany Littler1, Elizabeth Crawford1, Gavin Burner1, Karen Rogers2, Alison Vivian2

1Our Voice SA, Purple Orange

Our Voice SA is a 100% user-led self-advocacy group in South Australia. Our Voice SA became an incorporated body in 2007 and currently has 47 members living with intellectual disability. The NDIS ILC funding has enabled Our Voice SA, supported by Purple Orange, to make Our Voice SA stronger and louder.

Our Voice SA recognise that many people living with intellectual disability are still learning to speak up for themselves, understand their rights and be involved in making decisions. Our Voice SA has been delivering self-advocacy training to people living with intellectual disability across South Australia.

Aims/ purpose:
Presenters with an intellectual disability will involve participants in a conversation about how to speak up for themselves, how to make decisions and the human rights of people with disabilities.

This workshop is a condensed version of the training workshops Our Voice SA has been delivering to peer networks across metropolitan South Australia. It will include how to be a self-advocate, decision making and human rights. Part of the workshop will also include Human Rights Bingo, a fun and interactive way to learn about your rights as a person living with a disability.


Ian was born in Peterborough but grew up in Adelaide, living in MINDA from the age of 16. Ian has been selfadvocating for over 15 years and it has developed into a passion. Ian’s first experience of self-advocacy was when he was living at MINDA, Ian self-advocated to move out of institutionalized housing.

Tiffany is 30 years old and a proud self-advocate. She has been self-advocating for over 10 years. Tiffany’s first experience of self-advocacy was when she was looking to move out of her parents’ home and spoke to Disability SA about what she wanted in her own home.

Libby grew up in an era when children with special needs attended special schools. She lived and attended school at Regency Park Crippled Children’s. Libby found her calling last year when she joined Our Voice SA. She is loving being involved in the self-advocacy movement and enjoying providing mentoring to others.

Gavin grew up on the York Peninsular. He was the youngest in his family and lived on the family farm until adulthood. When his father sold the farm and moved into the town, Gavin’s family arranged for him to move to the “Big Smoke”. He lived in supported accommodation and worked in supported employment for a short time. Gavin soon found his feet, moved into his own home and now works in open employment.

Alison has been volunteering in the disability sector since 2014 and working as a Developmental Educator since 2003. In this time Alison has worked alongside children and adults to live their best life, helping people understand their rights and give them the confidence to speak up and have a say about what happens in their lives.

Karen is a mother to four adult children. Karen’s second child Daniel now aged 38 was diagnosed with epilepsy and intellectual disability at 4 and later with autism. Being a mother gave Karen’s life meaning but being a mother to Daniel shaped that meaning. It gave Karen a direction and a purpose and for many years she has worked alongside people living with disability and their families. Karen has worked in advocacy, case management and accommodation and enjoys supporting people to live their very best life.