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Self-Advocacy & Self-Reflection for Students with Learning Disabilities

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  • 0:03 Self-Advocacy
  • 1:15 Self-Advocacy Strategies
  • 2:27 Resources & Problem-Solving
  • 3:30 Time and Place
  • 4:39 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Susan Nagelsen

Susan has directed the writing program in undergraduate colleges, taught in the writing and English departments, and criminal justice departments.

Helping students with learning disabilities become self-advocates and build on self-reflection skills is a critical step in their education. Teachers play an important role in these steps that will help students become independent learners.

Self-Advocacy

Students with learning disabilities have had many people helping them along the way. Their parents have most likely been their strongest advocates throughout their elementary and middle school years. Most parents have a complete understanding of the nature of the disability, the student's strengths and weaknesses, and the accommodations necessary for their child to succeed.

This is helpful when the child is young, but as the student reaches upper middle school and high school, it is time for them to take on the role of advocate. There are a number of things that need to happen for that 'passing of the torch' to take place.

It is absolutely necessary for students with learning disabilities to be a self-advocate. This means being able to understand the nature of their disability, articulate their strengths, and understand their weaknesses. In order to self-advocate, students need to be able to know what accommodations work best for them, and they need to be able to speak with teachers about these needs in clear and succinct ways.

As a teacher, your role in the acquisition of self-advocacy and self-reflection skills is vital because you can model the best practices and help the student reinforce them by using them. Teaching self-advocacy and self-reflection go hand in hand.

Self-Advocacy Strategies

Self-advocacy helps students gain confidence and develop the skills necessary for independence. These are incredibly important for the learning disabled student, because the disability often makes the student feel as though they are less than other students. Our goal as educators is to help the student build on their weaknesses by capitalizing on their strengths. The student who self-advocates is:

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