Encourage communication and self-representation; starting at an early age creates a sense of ownership over their learning and life.
Praise all efforts of decision making and problem solving; learning these skills encourages youth to develop independence and self empowerment.
Find a chance for youth to advocate for himself/herself at home and in school; encourage them to find solutions to challenges that others may not be aware.
Provide opportunities for leadership roles at home and in school; this can help build self-confidence in the ability to learn.
Encourage self-advocates to speak in class; Role play a situation with example of what they can say beforehand to practice. Kids who can effectively self advocate can communicate in social situations and even explain to friends why they may need extra help.
Teach about ways he/she can make accommodations or adaptations to help meet any needs; knowing what help or support is available removes barriers to learning.
Practice ways to help him/her make disability and accommodation needs known to others; and encourage students to understand what is in the IEP/504 and be able to communicate it to others.
8) Create opportunities
Create opportunities to talk about the disability in school, home, church, business and community. Ensure youth know about their disability so it can be explained to others, if needed.
Understand abilities and limitations knowing everyone is different and unique. Encourage possibilities such as work, college or living independently.
Allow for choices to be made as a team. From an early age children should be encouraged to be as independent as possible and to help make choices about their life and their future. Have High expectations!
For More Information
Talk with the school and partner with them to help them understand your child and their needs. Attend meetings at the school for your child.
If your child is struggling in school, Contact PIC for more steps to take in supporting your child at school.
You may also view the Utah Parent Center Self-Determination video at wpic.org.
Adapted from National Center for Secondary Education and Technology. For more information and strategies to help your child self advocate contact PIC.