Self-advocacy is a process that begins early for a child with disabilities, and continues all through life. It is important to  begin teaching your student how to self-advocate early.  Self-advocacy can be accomplished in a variety of ways. For example, interviewing a young child about interests, strengths, and favorite classes would provide student input. An older child may be able to write or dictate some information for their Postsecondary Transition Plan (PTP). As the student becomes more confident to participate, opportunities to do so need to be planned and implemented.

Teaching your student how to self-advocate early will allow your child to have as much practice as possible prior to becoming eighteen when parental rights transfer to the student who is receiving special education services. This practice will help the student be able to advocate in all areas of adult life including education, employment, finances, recreation, living arrangements, legal and medical issues. It is important for everyone on the student's team including family, teachers, friends, and service providers to have buy-in and a common understanding of self-advocacy. The role of these key people is to provide support, encouragement, and expand the possibilities for high expectations of the student.


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