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Self-Advocacy

Teaching your child or student how to advocate for him/herself in college

by Jean Handler, Student at CLE Fort Lauderdale

 

 Jean Handler - CLE Fort Lauderdale

Jean Handler has been at CLE for five and a half years and is also on the Student Leadership Council. She just graduated from Sheridan Technical College from the Business Management Supervision and Analysis Program. She won second place at State of Florida Skills USA in employment application and Interview Process.

Parents and educators play a huge role in guiding young adults that are entering college. Families should shift the major responsibility of advocating for their child over to their young adult that will be attending college. Parents can teach their children to have a voice and advocate for themselves in the home setting. Furthermore, educators can help transition students at the high school level by preparing them to have their own voice. In college, there are many accommodations that a student with special needs will need to ensure their success. Being your own advocate will help you to stand up for yourself in the future and give you the confidence that you need to become an independent individual.

I have a voiceEventually, a student needs to stand up for him or herself because there may not be an educator, parent or guardian that knows you well enough. You are the only person that knows what you need, want and what will be best for you in the long run. It is beneficial for young children to learn how to self-advocate by participating in parent-teacher meetings, IEP meetings, meeting with guidance counselors and practicing communication skills at home.

Self-advocacy should begin at a young age, in order for the child to learn that it is okay to speak up for themselves. When speaking up for oneself, you are able to get your needs met and the special supports that you need in your courses. As an independent college student, you must go to the accessibility office at your local college and explain the accommodations you need for each specific course. The accommodations that are commonly needed are; extended time on tests, note taker or a tape recorder, an interpreter, and use of an isolated room to take an exam.

It is useful to know what kind of learner you are, so you can identify your needs, skills and interests. Knowing if you are a visual or auditory learner, can allow the student to advocate for his or herself. During childhood, young learners must be taught self-determination and self advocacy by parents and educators. At this crucial time, children can be instilled with the drive, self-confidence and self esteem to become self-advocates. Through role modeling and other lifelong strategies, students can learn appropriate communication skills, which can lead to an independent life.

Newsletter Articles – June 2016

Empty nest

Congratulations! You did it!! You have just reached a major milestone, and you should be proud of yourself for your hard work to get to this point. You have made the huge decision to let your student leave the nest that you have so carefully and painstakingly built to provide comfort, safety, happiness, and love in order to enter the big, bad world of adulthood.

The idea of your student accomplishing new goals and achieving levels of independence that were previously unimaginable is exciting and what every parent aims for when sending their student to CLE. However, the process can often be a difficult one, especially during the initial transition and during those times when unexpected circumstances arise. Here are some tips to ease the transition and how to handle those challenging situations as they come up.

CLE Tutoring

If you’re anything like I was as a parent, by the time your son or daughter is a high school senior, you’ve pretty much got this IEP thing down. You’ve trained for a long-term marathon of supports and services. You can decipher present levels of performance, write goals in your sleep, and remain ever-vigilant to hold the school accountable if they neglect to provide appropriate accommodations. But what happens once you cross the finish line? You may have heard that there are no IEPs in college, but what does that mean?

Keep Calm - Wave Goodbye

Why spend time worrying about learning the skill of how to disengage from conversations when there is enough trouble engaging or initiating in the first place? Because a crucial element of a conversation is not only learning how to disengage from that particular interaction, but also encouraging the other person to engage in conversation with you again at some point in the future.

There are many levels, or variations, to saying good-bye. It can be complicated. There’s the one you give to someone you do not expect to see again, the one you give to someone who has to excuse himself for a moment to deal with something but will be right back, the one you give a parent, the one you give a co-worker. “Have a nice life,” is different from “See you later,” and also from “See you soon,” or even “Call me back when you’re done.”

Graduation from High School

Thinking about what you should do after high school can be both exciting and scary. As we arrive at the end of the school year, most high school seniors are preparing for their next chapter in life. Progressively more high school students with autism and other learning differences are planning to continue their education in post-secondary schools, including vocational and technical schools, two-year and four-year colleges, and universities. This is a new journey of independence, the first time for most students. It may also be the first time when many students will be responsible to advocate for their own needs at school. A student’s ability to advocate for him or herself is critical to succeed at the college level.

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This has been a special needs program update from College Living Experience | CLE | Choose Your Future. You may also click here to read the original article on the main program website.