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Self Advocacy: 5 Reasons this Skill Should be Taught

Self advocacy is one of the most important skills struggling students can learn. Whether it is communicating with a teacher about a best learning approach, a needed testing modification, or a classroom accommodation, self advocacy can assure that students get what they need to learn.

What is Student Self-Advocacy?
Student self-advocacy is when a learner communicates what he or she needs to a teacher or administrator in an academic environment. This skill should be taught in middle school so that students are knowledgeable about the process and procedures by high school.  Although it sounds easy, it’s actually quite complex, because students must be savvy about:
  1. Individual needs: Students should have a comprehensive understanding of their strengths, weaknesses as well as their accommodations, so that they can monitor services and manage their own needs.
  2. Mandated rights: Students should know about the laws that protect students with disabilities, so they can evaluate whether they are getting the needed services.
  3. Speaking up for yourself: When accommodations are overlooked or require adjustments, it is important for students to feel comfortable communicating their concerns to school personnel as well as to their parents or guardians.
  4. Knowledge of school support personnel: Knowing the people and places to go to when assistance is required is vital for students that require services.

How Can Struggling Students Get Academic Services?
Many students struggle with disabilities that can make the learning process a challenge in school. As a result, schools are mandated to provide these learners with reasonable accommodations that can help them reach their academic potential. The process of getting accommodations requires formal testing that uncovers a diagnosis as well as a history of academic underachievement. Then, a meeting with the school and the parents or guardians can determine whether the student receives informal accommodations or a formal 504 or IEP designation.

5 Reasons Student, Self Advocacy Should be Taught:
  1. Helps students learn more about their own strengths, weaknesses, and needed accommodations.
  2. Develops resilience and builds confidence.
  3. Helps students to develop and improve communication skills.
  4. Teaches students the skills, so that they can acquire any needed higher education or workplace accommodations.
  5. Enables students to get the needed modifications and accommodations, so they can show their true abilities and reach their academic potential.

Image result for eye to eye advocacy planHow Can Students Develop a Self Advocacy Plan:
Eye to Eye is a national nonprofit organization run by and for people with learning differences (LD), like dyslexia, and ADHD. They offer a free App that can help students create their own “My Advocacy Plan (MAP)”.  This is a tool that can be used to educate teachers or in an IEP or 504 Plan meeting.  You can get the app HERE.

Clearly, teaching students the need skills to be their own self advocate can help them throughout their lives.  If you have any questions, reach out any time.
Multisensory Educational Materials for Students:
If you are searching for fun and multisensory educational materials, be sure to come on over to Good Sensory Learning. Learning specialists, educational therapists, teachers, and parents can find lessons, remedial activities, cognitive therapy publications, educational games and more.  You can also arrange consultations with Dr. Warren.  You can learn more about her services at
Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator, and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Go Dyslexia, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to,, &  
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