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Transcript of self-advocacy
Definition: an individual’s ability to effectively communicate, convey, negotiate or assert his or her own interests, desires, needs, and rights. It involves making informed decisions and taking responsibility for those decisions. (VanReusen et al., 1994)
why self-advocacy is important for our students
gives students a sense of self-worth and confidence
they know what their strengths and needs are best, this can help teachers with setting realistic goals
teaches students problem solving skills
students stay in school longer and are more successful
understanding the steps of
self-advocacy: the students perspective
1. FIGURE OUT WHAT THE ISSUES ARE: What is my learning disability? Be informed about the learning disability, understand it. Do some research, knowing what your learning disability is will help you make important decisions about your education.
2. DEVELOP AN ACTION PLAN: Set up learning goals. What can be done to help you be successful in school? How can the support people around you accommodate your needs? How are you going to help to achieve your own goals? When do you want to achieve these goals by?
3. CARRY OUT THE ACTION PLAN: Work to achieve the goals set up by you and your support people. Be sure to use the accommodations given to you to ensure your success.
4. EVALUATE HOW THE ACTION PLAN WORKED OR IS WORKING: Be sure to take the time to assess how the plan is working. Are the accommodations working? Are the goals realistic? Are other supports needed? If the plan is working, what is working? Why? Can it work even better? If the plan is not working, go back and adjust the goals, and or accommodations etc...
What you can do to help your students learn about self-advocacy
help your students understand the concept of having a learning disability
explain what you know about their specific learning disability
help your students understand their strengths and needs
be sensitive to your student's situation; explain that their disability is not who they are and that everyone has needs and strengths
assist your students by providing resources about LD (suggestion: perhaps a good idea for a research project?)
provide your students with ideas and proper terminology to help them speak about their needs
allow your students to assist in their learning goals
allow your students to have a voice in choosing assistive technology/strategies
role-play and/or model appropriate interactions
Resources for teachers about self-advocacy
Website that has actual lesson plans to teach self-advocacy and self-awareness: Zarrow Center-ME! Lessons for Teaching Self-Awareness and Self-Advocacy
'Shared Solutions' - document made to assist in preventing and understanding conflict surrounding programs and services for students with special needs http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/general/elemsec/speced/shared.pdf
How to teach
1. Teach what self-advocacy means, teach what accommodations means: also teach students about different types of accommodations that are available to them (i.e. special seating, having directions read out loud to them, extra time etc...)
2. Students have to learn to identify their strengths and weaknesses: students then have to match their abilities to the accommodations available to them
3. Students have to learn the steps for asking for accommodations: FESTA steps
F- face the teacher
E- eye contact-make and keep eye contact
S- state the accommodation you need and explain why you need it
T- thank the teacher
A- accommodation- be sure to use the accommodation
These steps need to be practiced, role play is a great strategy
4. Have your students put into action their self-advocacy skills: students must ask their teacher for their own accommodations
Adapted from the article: Prater, M. A., Redman, A. S., Anderson, D., & Gibb, G. S. (2014). Teaching Adolescent Students With Learning Disabilities to Self-Advocate for Accommodations. Intervention in School and Clinic, 49(5), 298-305.
teaching ourselves and our students with learning disabilities about
Here are some examples of suggested activities to use to help teach self-advocacy
Learning Disabilities and self-advocacy
Self-advocacy in the simplest terms is being able to speak up for yourself and what you need in order to make good decisions regarding your own life. Being a student with a learning disability does not mean that you cannot self-advocate. If anything, self-advocacy is a skill that most students with a Learning Disability should be taught. If a student is able to successfully self-advocate it empowers them with the knowledge they need to succeed and it is important that they are able to participate in decisions being made about their own lives. As educators it would be beneficial to learn the steps in teaching our students how to self-advocate. This could include all of our students but specifically our students with LD’s.
teaching students about the iep process
It is important for students to understand what the IEP is and the process that it involves. Being informed is a large part of being able to advocate for yourself.
The following is from a presentation created by Nicole Held, Special Education Resource Teacher.
The IEP and
Students who have a learning disability will have an Individualized Education Plan. One of the main reasons for teaching our students how to self-advocate is so that they will be able to participate in the decisions regarding their own IEP. If students are given a voice in this process it will likely prove to be a successful plan.
Students can participate in the development of their IEP in various ways:
students can speak at their meeting
students can record a video explaining their needs
students can write their needs down on paper for someone else to read
It is important for students with a learning disability to feel included, especially when it concerns their own success in school.
Resources used for this presentation:
Can Learn Society. (n.d.). canlearn.ca. Retrieved June 1, 2014, from http://canlearnsociety.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/LC_Self-Advocacy
Ontario Ministry of Education. (n.d.). www.edu.gov.on.ca. Retrieved June 1, 2014, from http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/general/elemsec/speced/shared.pdf
Prater, M. A., Redman, A. S., Anderson, D., & Gibb, G. S. (2014). Teaching Adolescent Students With Learning Disabilities to Self-Advocate for Accommodations. Intervention in School and Clinic, 49(5), 298-305.
Reusen, A. K. (1994). The self-advocacy strategy: for education & transition planning. Lawrence, KS: Edge Enterprises Inc..
Self-Advocacy. (n.d.). Autism Speaks. Retrieved June 1, 2014, from http://www.autismspeaks.org/family-services/tool-kits/transition-tool-kit/self-advocacy
Self-Advocacy Skills. (n.d.). Teach Special Education. Retrieved June 3, 2014, from http://www.teachspeced.ca/self-advocacy-skills
Student Success: Self Advocacy for Students with Learning Difficulties. (n.d.). YouTube. Retrieved June 17, 2014, from Youtube.com
"Confident students feel better about
themselves, take more risks, ask for the help and clarification they need and consequently do better in
school and in life."
*Can Learn Society