Skip to content

8 Steps for Helping Third and Fourth Graders Become Self-Advocates

By Amanda Morin

As your third or fourth grader moves into a new phase of learning, it’s a good time to start teaching self-advocacy skills. Understanding and talking about her challenges can help her start to identify and ask for what she needs. Here are some steps to begin that process.

Define the issue.

Talk with your child about her learning and thinking differences. Help find her own words to describe the issues so she can explain them to other people.

Describe the difficulties.

Ask your child to think about how her issues affect her in daily life. Self-awareness—tuning in to what’s working and what’s not—is an important step to .

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Please wait…

By signing up, you acknowledge that you reside in the United States and are at least 13 years old, and agree that you’ve read the Terms and Conditions. Understood.org does not market to or offer services to individuals in the European Union.

Pinpoint issues and needs.

Ask your child to try to describe exactly what she’s having trouble with. Are there specific things she can ask for that might help? The more detail she can give, the better she can self-advocate.

Identify learning strengths.

Help your child examine what helps her feel and be successful. Does she learn best by listening or reading? Or does she do better when there’s a video or demonstration to watch?

Identify effective strategies.

Help your child think about the learning strategies that work for her. Make a list of things that are helpful. Does she need to sit in the front of the class? Does she need to be able to take breaks?

Create a script.

With your child, develop a script she can use to talk to teachers and classmates about her learning and thinking differences and the strategies that work for her. Practice it so she’s confident sharing with others: “Noise on the school bus is a problem for me. I wear these earphones to feel better.”

Work through who to talk to.

Once your child can identify a problem and some solutions, help her figure out who is the best person to approach for help.

Discuss where and when to ask for help.

Teach your child when it’s OK to ask for help in the moment—if she feels threatened, for example—and when it’s better to schedule a more private conversation (like if something comes up during class).

Share

self-advocacy:

Share 8 Steps for Helping Third and Fourth Graders Become Self-Advocates

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Email
  • Text Message
  • Coming soonGoogle Classroom

Share 8 Steps for Helping Third and Fourth Graders Become Self-Advocates

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Email
  • Text Message
  • Coming soonGoogle Classroom