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Self-Advocacy

HEATH Resource Center

Self-Advocacy

 

 

What do you need to know to be a self-advocate? How can you practice leadership? Are there any college programs that teach self-advocacy skills? And where can you see what college is like? The HEATH Resource Center at The George Washington University has produced an online teaching tool about self advocacy. It provides students with disabilities basic knowledge about the self-advocacy skills that they will need to be successful in a college setting.

MODULE GOAL(S):

 To provide students with disabilities basic knowledge of self-advocacy skills needed to be successful in a college setting.

OBJECTIVE(S):

  1. To define self-advocacy.
  2. To identify the reasons for learning self-advocacy skills.
  3. To describe the differences between high schools and colleges.
  4. To identify the skills needed to be a self-advocate.
  5. To list activities for becoming a good self-advocate.
  6. To describe an example of a self-advocacy program.
  7. To provide a resource for college self-advocacy programs.
  8. To explain the relationship between leadership and self-advocacy.

INTRODUCTION:

This module provides basic knowledge of self-advocacy skills you need to be successful in a college setting and your adult life.

KEY QUESTIONS:

Several questions are important as you develop your self-advocacy skills. These are:

  1. What is self-advocacy?
  2. Why do I need to learn self-advocacy skills?
  3. What do I need to know to be a self-advocate?
  4. What activities can I participate in be a good self-advocate?
  5. How can I practice leadership?
  6. Are their courses that teach me to be a self-advocate?
  7. Are their courses that teach me to be a self-advocate?
  8. Are there any college programs that teach self-advocacy skills and where I can see what college is like?

What is self-advocacy?

When you speak up for yourself, when you decide what YOU want to do now or in the future, you are a self-advocate. Self-advocacy means understanding your strengths and weaknesses, developing personal goals, being assertive (meaning standing up for yourself), and making decisions. Self-advocacy also means communicating your needs and making decisions about the supports necessary to meet those needs (Martin Huber-Marshall, & Maxon, 1993; Stodden, 2000). This last point is visit important in the college setting, where you and you alone, will be responsible for getting the supports you need to best learn your coursework.

Why do I need to learn self-advocacy skills?

With self-advocacy skills, you’re going to have an easier time with your classes, getting the support you need, to show what you can do. Self-advocacy will give more control and direction in your life outside of school too. The main reason you need this information set the goals you want and to know how to make plans and get the help you need to achieve them.

When students don’t have the information and the skills they need to find their way in the college setting and don’t know how to self-advocate for themselves, they may not get good grades and many of them leave before completing their degree. By learning self-advocacy skills, you have a better chance of college success!

When you worked with other members of the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) team by speaking up and helping to develop your goals and a plan for achieving these goals, you have practiced self-advocacy skills. However, you will need to practice these skills even more in college because the way you get the services you need is very different than high school.

For the rest of this in-depth guide, click here.


 

From the HEATH Resource Center, affiliated with The George Washington University Graduate School of Education and Human Development. www.heath.gwu.edu.

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