In my last post, I shared with you about my personal journey to self-advocacy and how it was not only a valuable skill for me, but a valuable skill for us to teach to our students. As special educators, we look to find ways to empower our students and encourage their growth every day.
The one skill that is sometimes unintentionally overlooked is self-determination. Self-determination is not only having the ability to self-direct one’s life but it encompasses many skills, including making choices, problem solving, making decisions, setting and attaining goals, self-awareness, self-regulation, self-advocacy and self-efficacy (Wood, Karvonen, Test, Browder, & Algozzine, 2004).
So, I invite you and your students to take this journey with me. Our first stop is continuing to look at self-advocacy and explore10 steps mentioned on a The LD Pride website, which I found helpful. This website also shares a self-advocacy manual that could be provided to some of your students or used as a resource for teaching.
The 10 Steps are:
- Accept your disability.
- Admit your disability to others.
- Understand your learning style.
- Realize how "other issues" might interfere with your self-advocacy.
- Know what you need.
- Anticipate your needs in each class.
- Know your rights and responsibilities.
- Be willing to compromise.
- Know where to go for support.
- Plan for the future.
I would like to challenge all of my Reality 101 readers to share how you are encouraging the self-determination and self-advocacy of your students. If you are not currently teaching, how would you teach these skills to your future students? What are some of the barriers you might face? Are any steps in the process missing from this list? My hope is that we can come together to share and discuss ideas to help us all better help our students.