Spirit Lake Consulting, Inc. - "Making life better"
An Indian-owned business

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Self-advocacy - Tools of the Trade

We are completely serious about this - get a box. A two-drawer filing cabinet will work, but a large cardboard box is just as good.

Here is the absolute minimum you need.

  • Large box
  • File folders
  • Paper
  • Pencil

It doesn't do you any good to have collected everything in writing if you can't find it when you need it. Set up any kind of filing system that works for you, by date, by alphabetical order.

Many people also find it useful to have a calendar or planner where they write all scheduled meetings. Tip: Keep that calendar in your box at the end of the year, don't throw it away. It may come in handy later if the agency says you never contacted them and you can show that you actually spoke with them in January and May of last year.

It's also helpful to have a couple of three-ring binders and a three-hole punch. Use these for materials you refer to frequently. This could be a copy of your IPE or IEP, the resource directory of disability services in your community, tribal services telephone numbers or whatever suits your particular purpose. Materials that you think are very relevant, such as a tribal council resolution or a memo from an agency can be punched and put in the binder.

It would be best if you also have a computer, Internet access and a phone, preferably a cell phone that makes it easy for people to reach you. However, you'll be amazed to find out how much a person can accomplish with a pencil, a 39-cent notebook from K-Mart and a strong commitment.


Next page, resources for continuing education

Spirit Lake Consulting, Inc. -- P.O.Box 663, 314 Circle Dr., Fort Totten, ND 58335 Tel: (701) 351-2175 Fax: (800) 905 -2571
Email us at: Info@SpiritLakeConsulting.com