We all want to be in charge of our own lives and make our own decisions to the greatest extent possible. Students with disabilities have the same right to speak up for themselves. Self-advocacy is an important lifelong skill and an important part of the transition journey. It is about your child making their own decisions about their life, learning how to get information so that they can understand things that are of interest to them; finding out who will support them in their journey; knowing their rights and responsibilities; problem-solving; listening and learning; asking for help, and even making friends.
We learn to advocate for ourselves from a young age. From convincing mom and dad to get us a phone to asking for pizza instead of brussels sprouts for dinner, to asking for a raise at our job. But some people need more support to learn these skills.
Building self-advocacy skills in your child will help them be more successful in school, on a job, and throughout life. It is an important part of the transition process and while starting early (as early as preschool) is important, it is never too late to build and improve upon these skills. Self-advocacy is a lifelong process.