the importance of self advocacy

Answer student discussion board.Why is self-advocacy important for students with ASD? minimum words 300 for each discussion.

1. (Marta) After having discussed last week the fact that a lot of students with ASD have communication issues, it is equally important that these students know how to request for their wants and needs.

As stated by Shore (2006) “Self-advocacy involves knowing when and how to approach others that to negotiate desired goals, build better mutual understanding and trust, and achieve fulfillment and productivity. Successful self-advocacy often involves an amount of disclosure about oneself to reach the goal of better mutual understanding.” What it means that once you pass the elementary stage where needs are more basic, it may be necessary to explain that you have autism and what that means in order to explain why an accommodation is needed or helpful.

It is very important that the child know his/her strengths and weaknesses and how ASD affects how they interact with others. Self-awareness has to be taught from an early age and a explanation needs to be given. Students need to if they are able, know their accommodations so that they can request them.


Shore, S.(2006). “The Secrets of Self-Advocacy: How to Make Sure You Take Care of You” , V(44)4

2. (Yelena) Self-advocacy is a way for someone to use their voice to express their own needs, goals and ideas. The issue that comes up with students with ASD is the lack in communication skills. I teach pre-k 4 in an inclusion classroom. One of the biggest things I teach my students is to recognize their emotions and what happens that causes them. Every morning during our first circle time, I open the floor to anyone that wants to share how they feel. I follow up with “what happened that made you feel that way?” Starting something like this at a preschool level teaches children that they have a voice. Additionally, I spend time teaching conflict resolution by teaching ways they can self-advocate when someone does something they do not like. This is important regardless of ability, but essential to students with ASD. As students with ASD continue through the education system, it would be important to teach them how to appropriately ask for things that they need. Once they are old enough, being able to attend IEP meetings and speaking to their challenges continues self-advocacy. I also feel it is important to teach students what their rights are as an individual with special needs.

Read “The Importance of Advocacy,” located on the National Autism Network.

Answer student discussion board: Why do you think many parents of children with ASD hire advocates?

1.(michelle) The parents that I know that have hired advocates have expressed they needed advocates to represent their child and to ensure decision being made are ethical and legal based on special education law. Not only must parents navigate local state laws but also federal special education laws. Every child regardless of economic circumstances has a right to an equal and quality education. The IEP process is not an easy process for a lot of parents. Advocates played a pivotal role in the initial passage of the IDEA act (Rothstein & Johnson, 2014). Advocates are a wealth of knowledge that parents often seek in order to obtain the best services for their children. Advocates are expert in special education laws whereas ASD specialist are experts in autism but not special education law.

Rothstein, L. F., & Johnson, S. F. (2014). Special Education Law (5th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

2. (Audrey) I remember sitting at my youngest son’s first IEP meeting; there were many terms circling around my head, so many that it seemed like a foreign language was being spoken. I didn’t know the basics of the IEP process, let alone what it meant for my son. By the time the first decisions were made regarding my son’s placement, I was upset, in denial, and all around confused. Noting my fragile state, a friend of mine recommended hiring an advocate – so, I did. During the meeting (reconvened) IEP meeting with the advocate, I found that she truly was my, “voice”. She knew the laws and what my son’s rights were and what my rights were, as well. My sole reason for starting classes in special education was to learn the basics. I think that many parents who hire advocates are similar to the person that I was. On the contrary, many parents need the support from an advocate – they may have exhausted all of their resources and they need a “heavy-hitter” to push a request through.

The role of an educational advocate is represent the students and their families – through this representation, advocates are able to push (advocate) for services, placement, supports, accommodations, etc. This role differs from an ASD specialist as an advocate in the regard that the specialist advocates in his/her area of expertise. The specialist may be more focused on instructional approaches and supports, along with appropriate accommodations for students with ASD. Honestly, I’d love to research this particular question, more – however, I’m typing this in MS word and I cannot research because the power just went out. *hums the tune of “Story of my Life”…

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