Self~Advocacy - Vocational


Table of Contents


Definition: Self-Advocacy - When you speak up for yourself, tell people what you need, and make decisions about your life.

Key Terms:

  1. Assertiveness - When you stand up for your point of view in a straightforward, firm, way
  2. Mnemonic - A pattern of letters or ideas that help you to remember something
  3. Self-Determination - How you can control your own life
  4. Activate - To start something
  5. Accommodations- Small things done that can help you to be successful
  6. Modifications - Large things done that can help you to be successful
  7. Improvement - When you get better at something
  8. IEP - Individualized Education Plan
  9. Strategy - When you make a plan for something
  10. Self-Awareness - Knowing yourself and your needs
  11. Self-Advocacy - Telling someone what you need
  12. Body Language - Body movements that communicate a message
  13. Non-verbal Communication - Communicating without using spoken words.

Discussion Points

  • What does it mean to advocate for yourself? (Speaking up and taking responsibility for yourself)
  • What should people know about you to best support your needs? (Describe your strengths, needs, and wishes)
  • You should be aware of the things in your IEP that you can speak up about (Accommodations, modifications, classes etc.)
  • Name some of examples of ways you can advocate for yourself (Find out about your rights, how to get assistance if you need help, speaking up in your IEP Mtg,)
  • Why is it important to advocate for yourself? (You should have a say in your life)

Activity 1: Name That Genre

Have students watch Youtube video below on Self-Advocacy. (5 minutes long) Self Advocacy - A State Of Mind by Abby Edwards

Materials Needed:
  • Student Activity Sheet A
  • Student Activity Sheet B
  • Writing Utensil
  • Projector/Screen

Draw a graphic organizer (similar to Student Activity Sheet A) on dry erase board, or project blank copy of Student Activity Sheet A onto the screen. As a class, discuss examples of how Abby Edwards advocates for herself. Fill in circles on the graphic organizer with the examples. Afterwards, explain how students can also advocate for themselves. To assist them in remembering ways they can accomplish this, give each student a copy of Student Activity Sheet B. Talk about what a mnemonic is, and review the helpful hints.

Self- Advocacy Hints Mnemonic

  • S - Sit up straight
  • H - Have a pleasant, yet assertive tone of voice
  • A - Activate your thinking (tell yourself to pay attention, participate)
  • R - Relax and tell yourself to stay calm
  • E - Engage in eye contact
    • Next, provide students with a copy of Student Activity Sheet B. Have them write their name in the center star, then fill in outer circles with ways they can advocate for themselves.

    Activity 2: Library Scavenger Hunt

    After reviewing key terms with students, divide the class into teams or pairs. Create a score sheet on dry erase board. Click on the link below that will bring you to a Self-Advocacy Jeopardy game.

    Materials Needed:
    • Student Activity Sheet B
    • clip boards
    • writing utensil

    Jeopardy Review Game Link

    Once all spaces on the Jeopardy board are answered, total up points. The team(s) with the highest score gets bragging rights to “Awesome Advocates Award”.

    Script Writing and Animation

    Script Prompt: Jazmin was extremely nervous when she started high school. She was used to the safety and security of her relatively small middle school, and even smaller elementary school.

    Materials Needed:
    • Script sheet for each group
    • Pencil for each student

    Now, she would become one of 1,500 high school students, of which she was only familiar with a few hundred. Jazmin was in regular classes that had two teachers. One teacher was assigned to Jazmin, and a handful of other students, that “needed extra help”. She was pulled out of class 1x per week for a Social Skills group. The older Jazmin got, the less she wanted to be taken out of class to attend these sessions. embarrassed and wanted to stay in her classes. Jazmin felt leaving her classroom made her stand out even more. Her parents and IEP participants all told her it was important for her to continue going, even though Jazmin did not think she needed help in this area any more.

    On the second week of school, Jazmin was called down to the “Special Services Office” over the intercom, so her classmates could hear. She felt some students staring at her, and even thought she saw a few snicker. When Jazmin arrived in the office, she asked the school social worker, Mrs. Kelly, if she could go back to class. Mrs. Kelly explained that attending the group was part of her IEP so she had to stay. Jazmin didn’t understand that explanation and could care less if it was “in her IEP”.

    She unhappily joined a group of four other students in Mrs. Kelly’s office, none of which said hello or even made eye contact with her. Mrs. Kelly sat down and said, “Today we are going to talk about starting conversations with new people in high school”. Jazmin groaned and stayed silent for the first half of the session. The only thing she could think about was all the work she was missing and would have to make up later. When Mrs. Kelly pressed her to participate, she got up, ran out of her office, hid in the bathroom and cried.

    One of the assistant principals came in after Jazmin and brought her to his office. Mr. Rodriguez explained to Jazmin that she cannot leave a group or class without permission and a pass, and would be written up for cutting if it happened again. He went on to say that Mrs. Kelly was going to help her improve her “skills for the future”, and it was important for her to go. Jazmin didn’t know what “skills” he meant, or what she wanted to do with her future. She only cared about that moment, and being back in class. Jazmin wished adults would let her make more decisions about her life now that she was in high school.

    Pair students and have them choose a scenario below, then make a short video clip of what could take place. Students should name and record their scripts using SiLAS software, and save the final movie.

    1. What do you think happened next? (One person can be Jazmin, the other can be Mrs. Kelly or Mr. Rodriguez, then switch)
    2. How do you think Jazmin can solve her problem? Or What could Jazmin have done differently? (One person can be Jazmin, the other person can be Jazmin’s mother, father, Mrs. Kelly, Mr. Rodriguez etc. , then switch)
    3. How do you think the school staff could have made things more comfortable for Jazmin? (One person can be Jazmin, the other can be Mrs. Kelly or Mr. Rodriguez, then switch)

    Lesson Review

    Allow students to complete the student lesson review sheet. Discuss answers when finished.

    Materials Needed:
    • Student Lesson Review Sheet - 1 per student
    • Pencil for each student


    Go to only student curriculum

    Student Lesson Review Sheet

    Directions: To check your understanding of the lesson, answer the following questions.

    1. What is the difference between self-advocacy and self-awareness?

    2. What are two ways you can advocate for yourself?

    3. Where are two places you can advocate for yourself at?

    4. What is the difference between an accommodation and modification?

    5. What are some ways people can help support you?