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5 Steps to Self-Advocacy in the Community [Life Skills]

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Self-advocacy is the ability to speak up for yourself or on the behalf of someone else or for a cause. It is also the ability to know your rights and responsibilities and to reach out to others when you need help or support. When you self-advocate you have the ability to be assertive as well as negotiate for one’s self, others, or for a cause.

Teaching our students to self-advocate during community outings is an important skill to get their needs met.


Why is Self-Advocacy Important?

Self-advocacy is an important skill to teach our students because it gives them the knowledge they need in order to succeed and participate as independently as possible in their own lives.

  • When a person becomes an adolescent is when they being to question authority and want to become self-determined individuals (Wehmeyer, 1995).
  • It is important to allow students with disabilities the opportunities to make choices, make their own decisions, and learn to self-advocate to increase their own level of independence (Wehmeyer, 1995).
  • It is in high school, college, and one’s work that it becomes a student’s responsibility to advocate for themselves. Therefore, it is important to learn to self-advocate prior to entering these grades and work experiences (Brown, 1999).

All students, with or without a disability must learn to self-advocate through being directly given instructions on how to self-advocate and then followed up with practice, practice, practice.

The Steps to Self-Advocacy in the Community

5 Steps to Asking for Help
  • Locate a staff worker to ask them for help.
  • Gain their attention by saying, “excuse me”, tapping them on the shoulder, or waving.
  • State your problem by using clear speech to explain your problem.
  • Listen to the directions that the worker gives you.
  • Repeat their directions to make sure you understand their directions.
  • If you’re still confused then ask further clarifying questions.

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    Get More Problem Solving Time Saving Materials

    Next, be sure to check out the following time-saving materials to continue to teach your students how to solve their social problems in addition to this freebie.

    Self-Advocating Role-Play Scenarios

    Self Advocating
    • Self-advocating in high school. Teach your high schoolers the process to self-advocate for what they need.
    Self Advocating Practice

    5th-12th Grade Life Skills Problem Solving

    Life Skills Social Skills
    Asking for Help Scenarios
    Review Possible Answers for Scenarios


    Learning to self-advocate during a community outing is an important skill for your students to get their needs met and help them become successful in life.

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      Help your students start advocating for themselves in the community today!


      Thursday 14th of April 2022

      Hi.....Nice work. I would add one more component to the gain their attention step....which would be to wait until they acknowledge you and are giving you their "they" are ready to listen. Also, what to do if the staff worker is busy and says "not right now."

      Melissa Berg

      Monday 18th of April 2022

      Love these ideas! Thanks! Melissa

      Comments are closed.