5 Tips to Help Your Child Create a Self-Advocacy Plan
If your child had hearing loss and they needed help in the form of a hearing aid, you would have an open discussion with that child about their hearing loss and the use of that hearing aid.
There is no question that we would have an open discussion in that scenario. This discussion would necessary for their safety, their learning in school, and to be successful in everyday life.
But, in many cases, parents don’t have open discussions with their children about dyslexia.
Oftentimes, there can be a very strong emotional response to the word dyslexia.
However, we know that there is so much power in saying dyslexia. Saying dyslexia is such a big part of helping move our students toward self-advocacy.
When we have open discussions with our children about dyslexia…
- We can frame it in a positive way
- They can feel a sense of relief in knowing why they struggle
- They can explore their own unique strengths and weaknesses
- It enhances self-awareness, allowing them to self-advocate and develop a game plan
- It makes students more aware of accommodations and which ones work best for them
Help Your Child Find His or Her Strengths!
Whether you’re a parent, caregiver, or educator, there are some questions you can ask to help your child find their strengths. Just remember, not all strengths are visible.
Here are 3 questions you can ask your child (and yourself) to help them find their strengths:
- What can you do for hours and hours?
- Are there topics you really love talking about?
- What are their “soft skills”?
Remember, it is really powerful to have a conversation with each child about the strengths we see in them.
Now, let’s look at how we can support our children and students as they move towards self-advocacy.
Here are 5 steps you can take to help your child create a self-advocacy plan:
Once a child knows they have a certain diagnosis, we want to help them to develop a game plan. Self-advocacy is a lot like developing a game plan or a road map.
1. Know what tools you need in your toolbox.
Part of creating a game plan is knowing what tools you need in your toolbox.
2. Make a bulleted checklist.
List the ways that your child learns best, what is challenging to them, and what they appreciate getting help with. Each of your three main sections can have multiple bulleted points underneath.
Make sure to monitor and check in regularly. Have open and honest conversations with your child or student about what is working, what isn’t working, and what could be done differently that might help. Then, you can make adjustments along the way.
Allow your child or student to practice asking for a certain accommodation in the proper way. Role-play what that would look like. This will set them up for success when they need to ask for a specific accommodation in class.
You can also practice writing emails to ask for accommodations.
5. Get creative!
If your child loves to draw, allow them to turn their self-advocacy plan into a picture book or a comic strip. Some kids might want to take their plan and record a short (and possibly funny) video.
When we encourage our students to speak up for themselves and advocate for themselves, it really brings in their personality and allows the child to be seen and known through a different lens.
For even more on the power of saying dyslexia, check out our latest episode of the Together in Literacy podcast. If you like what you hear, don’t forget to rate, leave a positive review, and subscribe!
We are blown away that this podcast has hit 100,000 downloads! We are committed to our mission, which is to help and support all of you through dyslexia awareness and the Science of Reading as it pertains to the whole child!
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