Supporting Self-AdvocacyWhen a student enrolls in college or university, they are considered to be adults by faculty and staff. The expectations are that he/she will assume responsibilities for meeting his/her class requirements.
If you are shy or apprehensive to discuss your child’s disability, he/she may have difficulty learning how to discuss it openly with the people who can provide him/her with assistance. If your child is planning on attending college or university, it means he/she has beaten the odds, he/she has found the strategies and has the strengths necessary to attend. Focus on the positive - your child’s abilities, what he/she has been able to overcome and how.
Learn about the supports available to your son/daughter by visiting the disability service office website at his/her college or university and community. That way you will be able to help guide him/her over some of the rough spots. Remember you are still a part of your child’s special needs support team.
Students who have good self-advocacy skills are likely to make an easier transition to post-secondary studies. Students must understand and be able to communicate their strengths, weaknesses and learning needs. Although the disability services office will be available to them, it is the student’s responsibility to seek out these supports and services. Good communication skills and knowledge about oneself become crucial to success in post-secondary studies.
Adapted from: Trent University, Disability Services Office: www.trentu.ca/disabilityservices.