Self-advocates–people with intellectual or developmental disabilities–are now using the Internet to further their civil rights movement (the self-advocacy movement). The Internet is a tool that they can use to connect with other members, groups, and supporters of their movement.

Why would self-advocates be interested in accessing the Internet? My initial response would be, “Why would anyone be interested in accessing the Internet?” The Internet has many benefits; benefits that do not depend on whether a person has a disability. Self-advocates can and do experience the benefits of the Internet.

Here, I share information on how efforts of self-advocates and other people with developmental disabilities to use the Internet began, how computers and the appropriate tools were found, and why Internet access is so important to the work of self-advocates.

In 1996, Central England People First, a leading self-advocacy group in the United...

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