Self-Advocates building back better during COVID-19

Ms Paige Armstrong1, Ms Donna Best2

1Queenslanders With Disability Network, Australia, 2QDN Peer Support Group for people with intellectual disability, Brisbane, Australia

The Hot Topics groups, Brisbane and the Gold Coast, Australia connected with New Vision Advocates, Canada to produce an international online event celebrating International Day of People with Disability in 2020.

Queenslanders with Disability Network worked with Community Living London to connect Hot Topics and New Vision Advocates which are both self-advocates with intellectual disability groups together.

The groups met online for the first time on 3 July 2020. It was at this initial meeting that the groups started discussing hosting an international event.
Group members formed friendships and loved hearing about each other’s countries particularly around supports and services. They decided to meet monthly to continue to learn more about each other and to plan for the international event.

When the theme for International Day for People with Disability, Building Back Better was announced, Hot Topics and New Vision Advocates chose to talk about how their groups connected during COVID and how they would take the learnings from COVID to build back better in the future.

Hot Topics invited self-advocate groups from all over Australia to participate in the Australian event and New Vision Advocates invited other Canadian self-advocacy groups to participate in the Canadian event.

The events were both so successful that Hot Topics and New Vision Advocates are going celebrate International Day for People with Disability 2021 with another international online event. This year they hope to have self-advocates from other countries join them for an even bigger international online event.


Donna Best has been an active leader in Queensland’s self-advocacy movement for the last four decades, participating in the first ever Queensland self-advocacy meeting in 1984. Donna has championed the rights of people with intellectual and dual disability, and supported others to have a voice, a say and be listened to.