Assertiveness and self-advocacy are not always innate. Some children are naturally shyer than others, and many people (adults included) find it difficult to speak up for themselves. However, being a good self-advocate is an important skill at all stages of life. In school, children benefit from asking and answering questions, protecting themselves against bullying and learning to negotiate everything from the bus ride to the first date. When students practice assertive behavior, they learn life-long strategies that allow them to maximize their strengths, develop healthy relationships, and become successful, independent members of society.
Unfortunately, individuals who have learning disabilities, executive functioning weaknesses, ADHD or related disorders are sometimes least likely to effectively self-advocate. The ability to recognize a need, formulate a request and ask someone of authority a question is a difficult set of tasks for these children. However, practicing methods of self-awareness, self-determination, self-confidence and self-advocacy will provide students with the strategies necessary to achieve their personal and academic goals.
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