Welcome to Peoplefirst.org!

You can use this site to:

  • find the websites of People First and other self-advocacy groups around the world, and
  • tell people about a group.

Would you like to add a group? Or is there a group which no longer exists?

What are People First groups? What are self advocacy groups?

They are groups of people with learning difficulties who speak up for themselves. They work to make the lives of their members better.

What does people with learning difficulties mean?

People First groups use the term ‘learning difficulty’ instead of ‘learning disability’ to get across the idea that people’s learning support needs change over time. Other words which are used are:

  • people with intellectual disabilities
  • people with developmental disabilities
  • people with learning disabilities.

The History of the People First Movement

The People First movement started during the planning for a self-advocacy conference in 1974. This was held in Oregon in the the United States. Dennis Heath, a social worker who supported the group, said:

One of the pioneer self-advocates – who it was is forgotten – objected to the constant use of the words “retarded” and “handicapped.” “I want to be treated like a person first,” he said. From that came the group’s name, People First of Oregon.

From this first conference, the People First movement has spread to all corners of the world.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of self-advocacy groups have taken on the name ‘People First’.


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