5 steps to encouraging self-advocacy and self-determination in special education students

Special ed students should identify barriers to learning, assess self-confidence and participate in IEP meetings

Maria Worthen, vice president of federal and state policy at iNACOL, participated in a working group that developed recommendations for a National Center for Learning Disabilities’ report, “Agents of †‰Their Own Success: Self-Advocacy Skills and Self-Determination for Students with Disabilities in the Era of Personalized Learning.”

Read more: Voice and choice drives edtech in special education

To encourage self-advocacy and self-determination (SA/SD), the report recommends that students:

  1. Learn more about their disability and the importance of SA/SD to their success
  2. Participate in opportunities to practice SA/SD
  3. Reflect on any barriers to learning they’ve faced in a school’s personalized learning setting, and talk to teachers or a principal about addressing those challenges
  4. Assess how confident they feel about advocating for themselves in school
  5. Request to join any meeting, such as an IEP or transition meeting, that involves decisions about their learning and future

Read the study.

Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick is a life-long journalist. Prior to writing for District Administration he worked in daily news all over the country, from the NYC suburbs to the Rocky Mountains, Silicon Valley and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He's also in a band.

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