Community Access Center

Individual Advocacy & Peer Counseling

Individual Advocacy

You can advocate for the removal of barriers in your community! CAC Advocates provide assistance to individuals with disabilities in resolving issues related to obtaining access to benefits, services, and programs. We also provide civil rights education, leadership training, and networking opportunities between businesses and disability groups. If you encounter a problem related to disability, we can provide you with the tools to resolve it.

  1. Think about what you want to be different from. Before you talk to the other person, make sure you know what you want to happen. Do you want to be treated differently? Do you want that person to stop doing something? Do you want a barrier removed?
  1. Take a deep breath and speak clearly and slowly. Deep breathing gives your body lots of oxygen, and oxygen helps you feel calmer and think more clearly. Start by saying something like, “I would like to talk with you about…” and then calmly describe how you see the situation.
  1. Do your research. Take the time to gather background information. Who is affected? How does this issue divide segments of the community? Find specific solutions to offer, as it shows you took the time to consider all sides of the issue.
  1. Let the other person speak. Being a self-advocate doesn’t mean that you only talk. The other person needs a chance to respond to what you are saying. If that person becomes impatient, try to stay calm and take a deep breath.
  1. Don’t expect immediate results. Change is not always instantaneous or lasting. Sometimes it takes many conversations before anything changes. You may even have to remind the person more than once.
  1. Ask for help. One of the best parts of being your own advocate is that you don’t have to solve all the problems on your own. You can and should ask for help. Asking for help is also advocating for yourself. Find a like-minded group of people. By organizing and working together, it’s easier to make change.

Determine if your issue is a local, state, or national one. Contact your representatives for help.

Peer Counseling

Peer counseling is the process by which an individual gives nonjudgmental, nondirective support to a peer who is experiencing a personal crisis. It is short-term, often done by telephone, and provided by a layperson rather than a professional therapist. This book contains abundant demonstrative case examples and is designed to provide the skills necessary to counsel from the initial needs assessment (for resources like food, shelter, medical care, physical protection, or unconditional support) through the conduct of a session (how to start and end one, identifying and reflecting on clients’ feelings, typical roadblocks, and confidentiality). It closes with special attention to handling crisis situations like suicidal emergencies and counseling the dying. In this comprehensive and sound volume, Ms. Cox has distilled the wisdom of more than twenty years as a peer counselor and trainer. Her knowhow will endow prospective volunteers with confidence and provide trainers with an invaluable tool for their instructional programs.

Community Access Center Never Charges A Fee For Services Provided.

We Advocate for you!

Investigation of discrimination claims and mediation on behalf of people with disabilities in order to resolve conflicts that impede the attainment of needed benefits and services.

Consumer Rights Notification

Every consumer of the Community Access Center has the right to appeal any decision that denies them service. (Please keep in mind that the appeal must adhere to specific guidelines and time constraints; request a copy of the procedure from your service provider.)If you desire representation in addressing your concerns or dissatisfaction with the Community Access Center (CAC), you have the right to contact the Client Assistance Program (CAP) for assistance. Contact the CAP at 1 (800) 776-5746 (and for the hearing impaired, their TTY is 1 (800) 576-9269), and you will be referred to a Client Assistance Program not connected with CAC. This will prevent any potential conflict of interest.

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