Advocacy is a very broad category that includes organizations that support people with disabilities and their families in a variety of different ways. Organizations such as The Arc of Illinois provide advocacy at the national, state, and local level. Members are well informed through the organization and participate in advocating for programs and policies that support their needs. Working together as a group and collaborating with other organizations in partnerships allows their efforts to have much greater impact on policymakers.
The Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities, also a statewide organization, is dedicated to improving the lives of people with developmental disabilities through advocacy, systemic change and capacity building. Though their services are indirect, their investment in new programs that improve the delivery of services and supports to individuals with developmental disabilities and their families have far reaching positive impact on the residents of Illinois. The investments supported by the ICDD include the original funding for the Illinois Life Span Project.
There are also a large number of more local advocacy groups, such as NADS The National Association for Down Syndrome. This group serves parents and others who love someone with Down syndrome in the Chicago Suburban area.
Advocacy groups can help people with disabilities and their families share and acquire information, understand policies and services, and impact the systems that serve them. These organizations are as diverse as the population of our state. There are many advocacy/support organizations listed on the Illinois Life Span website.