As your child grows, learns, and begins to think for themselves, self-advocacy becomes a crucial skill for them to develop. Luckily, it is a skill that you can start teaching your child at home.
You will ultimately need to focus on providing your child opportunities and information that will inspire them to speak up for themselves and begin experimenting with learning new concepts and ideas at their own pace and in their own way. Here are some tips that can help you get started on this journey.
Be Open About Learning Differences
One of the most important things you will need to point out to your child is that people will always have different ways of learning and thinking.
This can be especially true if your child has a diagnosed condition, as they are too young to understand that they are affected at such a clinical level.
You must help them realize that they are free to talk about it and that there is nothing wrong with them – they simply think differently than other kids.
Discuss How the Condition Might Affect Them
Once they understand that they have difficulty of some kind, you can then begin working on a way that they can communicate that difficulty.
Make sure that it is a proper discussion and that you are not simply talking at them. You will want to give them a chance to describe how their condition affects them and what they find challenging in their own words.
For example, instead of saying, “My dyslexia makes reading troublesome for me,” they might say, “Reading out loud is hard for me.” It is that form of self-advocacy that we want to work towards.
Work On Discovering Strengths
While discovering these weaknesses can be beneficial to your child, it can be easy for parents to leave it there. However, that could make things worse for them, as they can begin to feel useless. That is why it’s just as essential to help them discover their strengths.
That way, they can also grapple with the fact that everyone has skills and talents they are naturally gifted at, just like they have weaknesses. It will also allow them to distract themselves from the negatives with positive reinforcement.
Teach Them How To Talk To Teachers
We’ve all felt nervous about going up and asking teachers questions at some point in our lives, and our children are no different.
However, part of self-advocacy is helping your child realize that it is okay to ask questions and get additional accommodations to support them if they need it. If your child is shy about self-advocating, help them practice using sentence starters that they can use to get the point across as efficiently as possible.
It is important to accommodate all students as best as possible to help them have an equal opportunity to gain an education in life. That is why we strive to make society more accessible to disadvantaged people so that you can always have a chance to reach your full potential no matter your background.