People First Philosophy

People First is a self-advocacy organization of developmentally disabled persons based on the following philosophical concepts: 

  •        People First represents a statement by persons that we want to be perceived by others as people who have something to offer and skills to share rather than being seen as persons with handicaps and limitations.

  •         People First is a self advocacy organization and that means that people learn to speak for themselves.

  •         People First voting membership is open to all persons who are developmentally disabled. Only voting members can officers.

  •         People First is a peer group process which, over time, allows persons to learn to talk for themselves, advocate for themselves, listen to others, make choices, listen to peers, make decisions, solve problems, and ultimately develop leadership skills.

  •         People First is a process which must be paced to insure that every person present has a chance to learn to participate to the best of their ability and learn how to advocate for themselves.

  •         People First must initially be a blending of helpers working with persons in order to provide the modeling and support necessary for the development of self-advocacy and leadership skills.

  •         People First helpers provide modeling and support by working with persons to neutralize barriers that stand in the way of persons advocating for themselves.  Helpers do not lead, control or coerce.

  •         People First belongs to the people.


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