How to self-advocate

Self-advocacy means speaking up for yourself and making sure people know your needs and interests. These tips can help you practice your self-advocacy skills.

Written by
Monique Ziegelaar profile picture
Monique Ziegelaar
Speech Pathologist & How I Learn Contributor
Alice in the school yard sitting and talking with her friends

Self-advocacy means speaking up for yourself. It involves taking responsibility for making sure other people know about your needs and interests. Being able to self-advocate is an empowering skill.

You may be used to other people advocating for you, such as your parents telling your primary school teachers what you need to help you learn at school. You may have seen or heard disability advocates on the TV or radio, such as Dylan Alcott. It’s great that there are people advocating for you, but it is important to learn how to advocate for yourself. Advocating for yourself means you’re not reliant on others.

No one is born with self-advocacy skills, it’s something you learn and need to practice. These tips might help you advocate for your learning needs to your school and educators:

Know what to ask for

This means knowing your disability and being able to explain it to others. Know about your strengths, and areas you need help with. Completing the How I Learn profile in the student portal will help you figure out what you need to ask for help with from your school.

Be prepared

Your How I Learn profile will help you prepare for the planning meeting with your school. You might also like to role-play the meeting ahead of time with your family, friends or therapists. The more prepared you feel, the easier it will be to advocate for your learning needs.

Ask for help when you need it

Don’t wait until a little problem becomes a big one.

Build your confidence

Remind yourself what you have already achieved and believe you can also achieve this.

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