How to support your child to self-advocate

It’s important your child has the opportunity to practice advocating for themselves while they’re a teenager so they’re already self-advocates by the time they reach ‘the real world’.

Written by
Monique Ziegelaar profile picture
Monique Ziegelaar
Speech Pathologist & How I Learn Contributor
Mother and daughter standing close side-by-side smiling for a photo

Self-advocacy is not a skill we’re born with; it takes practice. It’s important your child has the opportunity to practice advocating for themselves while they’re a teenager so they’re already self-advocates by the time they reach ‘the real world’.

Empowering your child to become a self-advocate means giving them the time and space to try to make positive decisions and solve problems on their own.

The below tips may help you in this:

  1. Label your child’s current advocacy skills. Most teenagers are already advocating for themselves in small ways without realising, such as asking for help when they don’t understand, or explaining their disability to someone. Point these instances out to your child and label it as an example of self-advocacy. This will help them learn what the concept of self-advocacy means.
  2. Share decision making with your child on low-risk decisions. For example, let your child suggest what dinner should be that night. Practicing decision making on these low-risk decisions will help prepare your child when they need to make bigger, high-risk decisions.
  3. Encourage your child to ask for help. Self-advocacy doesn’t mean solving every problem on your own. It means knowing when to ask for help from others. Help your child to reflect on who they might want to ask for help from when problems arise.

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