Ten Questions to Ask Yourself as an Advisor

Taken from All About Groups, A publication of the Self-Advocacy Association of New York State, Inc. 500 Balltown Road, Building 5, Schenectady, NY 12304 Tel: 518-382-1454 http://www.sanys.org

These questions were developed by People First of Washington:

1  Am I really listening to what self-advocates have to say or am I imposing my point of view?

2  Do I see the real human growth and potential in self-advocates or do I see “disability” and “limitations?”

3  Have I “checked out” my actions and feelings with self-advocates?

4  Are any of my actions based upon a potential conflict of interest or need to be controlling in any way?

5  Do my Actions:

  • increase the self-respect, self-confidence, self-reliance in self-advocates, and encourage them to take risks?
  • decrease the self-advocates’ dependence on me?
  • increase a peer support system and encourage self-advocate leaders to take over my role
  • teach people a process for making decisions, solving problems, and doing things on their own vs. controlling things
  • decrease the chance that you will be seen as a “manipulator”
  • increase the self-advocate’s opportunities to understand and participate in the decisions that affect their lives?
  • encourage a positive role for diverse membership?

6  Do my actions promote respect and recognize individual growth as well as group spirit?

7  Do my actions encourage and assist self-advocates in obtaining and understanding a wide variety of information and different points of view so that people can make informed decisions? Have my actions developed “allies” for the self- advocates point of view?

8  Do my actions recognize that anger is okay and indeed justified in many instances and encourage people to use anger for positive growth and societal change?

9  Do I recognize that is okay for self-advocates to:

  • question my point of view?
  •  work me out of a job?
  • tell me that they don’t need me and can decide on their own?
  • give me negative feedback about what I am doing?
  • not see me as an authority figure?


10 Do I realize that advisors as well as self-advocates and self- advocacy organizations are fallible (or imperfect) human beings prone to making mistakes and having problems just like anyone else in any other organization?



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