The Importance of Self-Advocacy

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| May 15, 2018

Lets do This

How comfortable are you asking for a raise? What about talking to a store manager to get a refund? The skill of self-advocacy is not easy in the beginning. Teaching young people how to be their own self-advocate is critical to their development.  We have the ability to give young people the tools they need to respectfully approach a teacher/boss/college representative and know what to say so that they feel heard and, ultimately, leave the conversation with their needs met.

This is a skill that we can inspire in youth as early as kindergarten. It starts with asking a child to role-play their feelings by asking open-ended questions. Once you teach young people how to feel comfortable advocating for themselves, it becomes a gift that will help them learn independence.

5 Tips for Building Self-Advocacy Skills with Young Children

  • Have kids order for themselves at restaurants.
  • Have kids make eye contact when talking to adults they know outside the family.
  • If a problem arises that can be solved via email, have a young child dictate an email to you. Type it in their words.
  • Help the child think through a problem by asking open-ended questions such as: What do you want to happen? What do you think you’ll do first? What do you think he’ll say?
  • Role play the negotiation with your child before they make their official attempt.
Stay Inspired

Check out these resources for more ideas on how to teach kids of all ages to advocate for themselves. 

Teaching Kids to Advocate for Themselves – And 5 Ways to Help Little Kids Learn This Skill

Teaching Self-Advocacy Skills to Students

Teaching Teenagers to Advocate for Themselves