Advocacy in New Hampshire

Advocacy is defined as the act or process of advocating or supporting a cause or proposal; in this case, that cause or proposal has to do with disability rights. New Hampshire has a number of groups focused on advocating for individuals with disabilities, many of which you can read about below.

According to two leaders in New Hampshire self-advocacy, Kathy Bates and John Fenley, there are several reasons why advocacy matters:

  • Because disability never discriminates - it is the largest minority group, and any of us can join at any time.
  • Because disability should be seen as just another form of diversity.
  • Because everyone deserves the rights and responsibilities of full citizenship.
  • Because everyone deserves to live up to their full potential.
  • Because everyone deserves a shot at a good life!

For more information on why advocacy is so important, check out Kathy and John's presentation here.

Waiting For Service:

Adults With Developmental Disabilities Still Struggle To Find Care
The Exchance from NHPR

Adults with developmental disabilities are entitled to government assistance, including services they used to get from the school system as children. But for years, there's been a waiting list for that help, despite political promises and attempts at reform. We ask why the state keeps falling short for these adults and their families.

Chick here to listen to the podcast, featuring the Council's own Policy Committee Vice-Chair, Jennifer Bertrand.


Self-Advocacy Groups

Self-advocacy is especially important, because its purpose is to have individuals with disabilities understand (1) what they need and (2) how to go about getting it. Although people with disabilities (like everyone else) may need support from others, self-advocacy promotes the idea that individuals are entitled to make life decisions without undue influence or control by others.


Self-Advocacy Leadership Team (SALT)

SALT began as a task force of the New Hampshire Council on Developmental Disabilities, and has since taken on a life of its own. The group is currently made up of eleven adults with disabilities who are committed to ensuring that disability does not prevent them or anyone else from living life to the fullest.


The Self-Advocacy Leadership Team (SALT) serves as consultants for the New Hampshire Council on Developmental Disabilities and other Advocacy Organizations. Our group's members are talented citizens who want to effect positive change in New Hampshire. We are committed to supporting people who experience disabilities by tackling big issues that keep us from living quality lives in the community.

Projects & Events:

Abuse and Neglect Prevention

  • Rewriting the Adult Protective Services law for ease of understanding
  • Supporting a change of language in the Adult Protective Services law from “incapacitated” to “vulnerable" (Governor Hassan signed the Bill into law on May 5th, 2016.)
  • A "know your rights" marketing campaign is in the works. There will be educational brochures and posters, featuring a lock and key theme and the slogan: "The key to staying safe is knowing your rights... Unlock your power!"


  • Writing testimonies in favor of HB 592, Vulnerable Users of Highways
  • Testifying in opposition of HB 1491, Relative to Certain Transportation Companies under the Medicaid Managed Care Organizations (MCO)
  • Work concerning improvements to the automated service system through Managed Care
  • Plans to support t he House Bill relative to van parking for persons with disabilities

Learn it! Live it! Love it!

  • Kathy Bates presented and shared what SALT had been up to. John Fenley spoke about partnering with your service providers for a full life.


In the News:

Foster’s Daily Democrat: Judi Currie, "Disabled advocate for themselves"

New Hampshire Challenge: Kathy Bates, "SALT Advocates and Healthy Families Listens"

More Information :

Download SALT's 2018 Annual Report

Donload SALT's 2016 Annual Report

Visit SALT's Facebook page

SALT’S translation of the Protective Services to Adults law can be found here.

We really want people with disabilities to understand their rights and responsibilities.

Feel free to download the Adult Protective Services Law Bochure here .


People First of New Hampshire

People First of NH has been around since 1992, and consists of 14 chapters, with 2 members from each chapter participating on the board of directors.


We believe that people with disabilities should be treated as equals. We should be given the right to make the same decisions, and to have the same choices and responsibilities as anyone else. We should be allowed to make new friends and renew old friendships and be as independent as we are able. We should be able to live where we want to live and work where we want to work. We should also be included in society and not be singled out as being different. We will work to accomplish these ends in New Hampshire.

Projects & Events:

Voting Rights Awareness

  • Visit People First of NH's Facebook page to watch their video on the importance of everyone utilizing their right to vote this November.

More Information:

Visit People First of NH's Facebook page


Advocate NH

Founded in 2011, Advocate NH was originally a project group of the US Administration on Developmental Disabilities, called the NH Allies in Self-Advocacy. The group was formed to provide information and recommendations to the US Administration on Developmental Disabilities. The team was made up of representatives from the Institute On Disability, Disabilities Rights Center, Developmental Disabilities Council, Bureau of Developmental Services, and State and local chapters of People First of NH. In March 2012, the NH Team attended a Self Advocacy Summit in Baltimore. As a result of the summit, the NH Team decided to organize a statewide self advocacy conference - and so the annual “Advocate: Learn it! Live it! Love it!” conference was started.

Projects & Events:

Annual “Advocate: Learn it! Live it! Love it!” disability rights conference

  • Designed to help advocates learn new skills and practice advocacy

More Information:

Visit Advocate NH's Facebook page


Other Advocacy Groups


ABLE NH is a non-profit grassroots organization dedicated to working toward equality & advocating for the civil and human rights of individuals and families with disabilities.


ABLE (Advocates Building Lasting Equality) advocates for the human and civil rights of all children and adults with disabilities and promotes full participation by improving systems of supports, connecting families, inspiring communities and influencing public policy.

Projects & Events:

Annual ABLE/Leadership Golf Tournament

More Information:

Visit ABLE NH's website

Visit ABLE NH's Facebook page