By Erica Patino
Self-advocacy is a great skill for kids to develop. You can give your grade-schooler information and opportunities that will help him become a stronger self-advocate as he gets older. Here are some things to try.
Your child doesn’t necessarily need to know the name of the diagnosis, if there is one (such as dyslexia). But it’s important that your child know its effects. (“I have trouble reading and spelling.”) Let your child practice ways of explaining those learning and attention issues to other kids. (“It takes me longer to read, but I do the same work as everyone in my class.”)
Part of growing up is learning about personal strengths and weaknesses—what comes naturally and what doesn’t. Rather than shielding your child from his own learning and attention issues, point out where he can use help. When you do this, don’t forget to mention what he’s good at, too. (“You may need some extra help in math, but you’re acing your language arts class.”)
Your child may be afraid to ask too many questions or request accommodations. He might think that asking for those things will annoy the teacher. Remind your child that teachers like active learners who work hard in school. Practice when and how to ask a teacher for help. (After class, tell your teacher, “I need to look at notes instead of writing them down. Can you help me with that?”)
If your child understands how he learns best, he’s better equipped to self-advocate. You can ask questions like “Do you think you learn better when the teacher shows something or when you read it?” to help him figure out what works best for him.
Where does your child want to study at home? In the bedroom or the home office? What type of notebook is best to buy for a new class? Give your child choices and plenty of chances to practice making decisions. Also, help him to know how to ask for things that he wants. (“Mom, I love that pasta dish that you make. Could we please have it sometime soon?”)
Kids in grade school are just starting to learn about self-advocacy. Assure your child that you’ll do most of the advocating now and to let you know when more help is needed.
Self-advocacy skills can help your child deal with current challenges and ones in the future. Learn more about the importance of self-advocacy, and consider other ways to improve your child’s self-esteem.
It’s important for grade-schoolers with dyspraxia to start working on self-advocacy skills. Here are some ideas you can use to help your child practice saying these kinds of things to you and to her teachers.
It’s important for middle-schoolers with ADHD to learn how to self-advocate and ask for support. But kids this age may feel embarrassed about needing extra help. They may also not know how to ask for it. Help your child by rehearsing common situations like these.
Erica Patino is an online writer and editor who specializes in health and wellness content.
Donna Volpitta, Ed.D., is coauthor of The Resilience Formula: A Guide to Proactive, Not Reactive, Parenting.
5 Things Your Middle-Schooler With Dyspraxia Can Say to Self-Advocate
5 Things Your Grade-Schooler With Dysgraphia Can Say to Self-Advocate
5 Things Your Grade-Schooler With Dyscalculia Can Say to Self-Advocate
5 Things Your Middle-Schooler With Dysgraphia Can Say to Self-Advocate
6 Things Your Middle-Schooler With Dyscalculia Can Say to Self-Advocate
5 Things Your Grade-Schooler With Dyslexia Can Say to Self-Advocate
There was an error posting your reply.
Thanks for being a part of the Understood Community. Your comment will appear shortly, once it’s been reviewed.
*Please confirm you are not a robot.
Yimeng was a graduate student when she started to suspect she had learning and attention issues.
Kids with ADHD can have frequent mood swings. Learn why, and how you can help.
Six surprising ways this college student continues to be impacted.
He offers advice to his younger self. Find out what he says.
Stephanie M. Carlson
Sign up for weekly emails with helpful resources for you and your family.
This email is already subscribed to Understood newsletters. If you haven't been receiving anything, add email@example.com to your safe-senders list.
Name must have no more than 50 characters. Email address must be valid. Email message must have no more than 140 characters and cannot include the < > / \ special characters. Please fill out all fields and complete the reCAPTCHA to send a message.
*Please confirm you are not a robot.
Don’t worry—we saved what you wrote.
Sign up to get personalized recommendations and connect with parents and experts in our community.
Only members can view and participate in conversations.
Child’s nickname is private and only you can see it.