Every Student Is Different
For some students, being able to speak up for oneself is very natural. For others, it can be one of the most challenging parts of the school experience especially in middle and high school where there are many teachers with which the student interacts. Parents and educators can help a student acquire the skill of self-advocacy. We often suggest to a student to “ask the teacher about…” a test result, grade, or assignment for clarity. We may say “tell the teacher…”, so that the teacher may understand the student better. Some students are reluctant to do so, especially if they perceive the teacher as busy or “strict”. Self-advocacy is asking for what one needs in a direct, respectful manner. Being able to advocate for oneself facilitates social and emotional growth, which leads to maturity.
Being able to advocate for oneself facilitates social and emotional growth, which leads to maturity.
Benefits of Self-Advocacy
Being able to advocate for oneself will allow a student to learn how to get information so that he/she can understand things that are of interest to him/her.
- This skill will allow a student to find out who is supportive in his/her journey toward knowledge, and facilitate problem solving.
- Self-advocacy will help a student to understand his/her rights, as well as responsibilities, and learn about self-determination.
- It will allow for listening and learning, and reaching out to others when help and friendship is needed.
Self-advocacy is important so that a student will have the knowledge needed to succeed. The student will then be able to participate in decisions that are being made about his or her life. This is key. The earlier and more confidently a student can participate in decision-making, the earlier s/he will take responsible ownership in making sound decisions not only in school, but in life in general.