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269 Maple Ave Oradell NJ 07649 US

Offering Diagnostic Educational Evaluations

My Blog


When Students Advocate for Themselves

Posted on 29 August, 2013 at 18:58 Comments comments (57)
When will students start advocating for themselves?  That is the million dollar question.  Some students begin telling teachers what they need as early as elementary school.  Others still have a hard time advocating for themselves in high school and beyond.  When this happens, depends not only on the child...but also on the disability.  It seems as though students with a physical disability such as a hearing loss, begin advocating for themselves earliest.  Perhaps the child does not have any shame or embarrassment regarding the physical impairment.  It is not his or her fault and it is obvious...there's nothing to hide.  Teachers are usually very caring and concerned about these students.  They want to make sure all accommodations are in place for this child and are glad to help.  Next, comes the child with a true learning disability, such as dyslexia.  This child is also treated with compassion and the teacher is eager to make modifications and assist this child in the classroom.  Many teachers are not well versed in these areas and actually look to the student to learn the best way to teach them.  These students know how they learn and are not embarrassed or afraid to reach out to the teacher for help. the child with ADHD.  These students take the longest to reach out for help.  The nature of their disability is both the cause and the effect.  First of all, they can't explain what they need or how they learn best, because this often changes depending on which ADHD symptoms are most pronounced on a given day.  ADHD students may want to reach out for help, but they forget....or procrastinate doing so...or get distracted...or become too anxious...or restless...or can't organize their thoughts to say what they need.  Teachers are less sympathetic and caring when it comes to ADHD.  Most teachers do not understand the 'disability' and feel it is isn't real.  They can see how an FM system is necessary for a child with a hearing loss...but they cannot see how a study guide is necessary for a child with ADHD.  This attitude is felt by the child with ADHD year after year until they, too, start to feel it isn't justified.  So not only do they have a disability, they have to defend their disability.  Therefore, students with ADHD cannot really advocate for themselves until they are comfortable enough with their disability and can actually teach their teachers what it feels like to walk in their shoes.  ONE teacher can make that difference for a child with ADHD.  Once ONE teacher accepts ADHD as a true disability and treats it as such...that child will experience what it feels like to learn on a level playing field as his classmates.  Once that happens, the child with ADHD will become his own advocate.  When they learn on a level playing field...they will be successful...and success tastes so is worth advocating for----