Informational articles

“Having LD should never define who they are.”

School can be very challenging for a child with a Learning Disability so, come summer, look for opportunities that allow your child to explore and shine in other areas.


New Activities

Take advantage of those warm, sunny days to spend time outdoors. Does your child love to play basketball or ride a bike? Now is the time to develop those skills, either through formal programs or simply as a family or with friends. This is a perfect time to introduce new activities that haven’t been tried yet… such as learning to swim, kayaking or golf. It’s so important that kids with LD have the opportunity to discover the strengths that they have.

This is also a perfect time to take advantage of the pathways and trails that exist in many neighbourhoods as well as exploring interesting nearby communities. Lots of information can be found online that provide families with suggested walking or biking routes and other excursions. With high gas prices this summer, finding a favourite new nearby park or ice cream shop is a cost conscious way to enjoy a day outdoors. Letting your child plan the trip or create a map for the outing builds important skills as well as confidence.

Also, watch for local festivals and special events at galleries, libraries, community centres, etc. to further expand your children’s opportunities to develop new interests and skills. Not everything activity has to cost money.

Getting out and about is also a good way to combat some of the emotional stress that your child may have been experiencing this past school year. School can be very stressful, especially for our children with special needs, and time spent reconnecting to nature is so important.



So is reconnecting with family and friends. Friendships can often be particularly challenging for children with LD, and COVID created further barriers to those social interactions. Though we are thankfully past the pandemic, it caused delays in social skills development that continue to be an issue for many children. Look for opportunities to connect with understanding family and friends that can consciously foster conversational skills, turn-taking in games, or sharing their own interests and can engage a socially immature child or youth with patience and humour.  Also consider speciality summer camps for students with LD where camp counsellors are trained in understanding LD and incorporate social skills learning through fun summer activities.


More Ideas

Do you have a future scientist or astronomer in your family? The back yard is a great spot for some of those messy science experiments that kids love so much. The library or online sites can provide lots of ideas for experiments. And, star gazing at night may inspire a curiosity about the wider universe.

Outdoors is also the perfect venue for a variety of craft projects. Dollar stores and local craft stores have lots of reasonably priced materials for a budding sculptor, wood or paper project builder or Picasso. Water based paints are a safer choice than acrylics or oils, making for easy clean up after a project is done. Kids can simply experiment with the materials or follow along on youtube demos. And, crafting “plein air” means that the paints and other materials dry quickly.

What about starting a garden? Even those in condos can grow pots of plants or vegetables. There are a variety of seeds available at many local stores or you can stop by a garden centre that is now clearing out this year’s stock. We always look for brightly coloured flowers or plants such as strawberries or tomatoes that offer a quick, and often repeated, harvest.

Growing vegetables or fruits can also lead to learning to cook or bake, both important…and fun!… life skills. Following recipe instructions reinforces reading and math measurement skills without it seeming to be work. Best of all, there is the reward of something delicious to enjoy at the end.


Reading, too

And, in our family, reading skills are not ignored over the summer. Even though reading may be a real challenge for your child with LD, it is a skill that needs to be maintained…even while on vacation. During this time away from school where there was often a more structured reading program or book selection, focus on what your child would like to read. Re-reading an old familiar book that they enjoyed or sharing potential new favourites as a family read-aloud activity can bring new enjoyment to the reading process.

Summer definitely is not a time to simply survive before school resumes. Instead, you can make it a time to try a whole host of interesting activities while creating new family memories and, in the process, a lot of added confidence in your child with LD.


About the Author:

Lorrie Goegan, B.A., B. Ed, Cert Sp. Ed., is a longtime parent mentor and a past speaker at numerous provincial and national LD conferences. She is also the parent of an adult daughter with LD.

Self-Advocacy When You are a Newcomer

Canada has a long history of immigration. Millions of people worldwide have chosen, and continue to choose, Canada as their new home. In 2021, more than 8.3 million people, or almost one-quarter (23.0%) of the population, were, or had ever been, a landed immigrant or permanent resident in Canada, according to Statistics Canada. 

Moving to a new country is a challenging step in one’s life, regardless of your background or reasons for the move. Leaving behind everything familiar and adjusting to a new place, people, and society can be daunting. However, you are not alone in this journey. Your resilience and determination will guide you through these challenges. 


In the Beginning

In the early stages of settlement, we focus on fulfilling our primary needs and navigating a new system to find a job or education, depending on the case. Families with children must also learn about the local education system, how to enrol their children and the range and limits of teacher responsibilities. 

If your child has been diagnosed with a learning disability before coming to Canada, rest assured that support is available for you and your family. However, you must be proactive in sharing the diagnosis and participating in the support process, as resources are not always centralized. Nonetheless, numerous resources are available to support you and your child, and we are here to guide you in accessing them. 

Landed immigrants with higher levels of education and language skills generally do not face significant challenges in supporting themselves and their family members in their journey of self-advocating for learning disabilities. However, numerous barriers impact other newcomer families when navigating the system to find services and resources related to learning disabilities. 


What is a Learning Disability?

“Learning Disabilities refer to a number of disorders that may affect the acquisition, organization, retention, understanding, or use of verbal or nonverbal information. These disorders affect learning in individuals who otherwise demonstrate at least average abilities essential for thinking and reasoning. Learning disabilities are distinct from global intellectual deficiency” (Learning Disabilities Association of Canada). This means that a child is able to learn quite well – they are not ‘disabled’ from learning – though their brains process information differently enough that they often encounter difficulties in school settings.


Alberta Family Resource Networks

A good starting point for newcomer parents of young children living in Alberta is to connect with the Family Resource Networks (FRN), which deliver prevention and early intervention services and support for children and youth aged 0 to 18 and their families. Services are offered in-person and virtually to communities across Alberta. In addition to onsite programs, home visitation programs support literacy and the healthy development of young children, and they can come to you at your place. These programs usually have screening tools such as ASQ: The Ages & Stages Questionnaire, a developmental screening tool that pinpoints developmental progress in children between one month and 5 ½ years. Depending on the provider, first language support is also available through program staff or qualified interpreters. 


Community Health Centers

If family programs are not an option for you, connecting to the Community Health Centre in your area is essential. As a parent, you know best about your child, so don’t hesitate to share any concerns and ask as many questions as you need. Interpretation is readily available through Alberta Health Services

Once health staff have assessed the need for a screening, you will be referred to the appropriate health care provider. Be aware of the wait times, which can take several months. Please be patient but remember that you might need to seek help from various sources in this process. You are the advocate for your child, and even though you will find many people to support your journey, you are the one in charge. Your advocacy is crucial in ensuring your child’s needs are met, and we believe in your courage and ability. You lead, we follow.  


Settlement Agencies

As a newcomer, you can access support through settlement agencies, where counselors can assist in completing documents and forms, and can also refer you to community programs, including family counseling. 


We Can’t Wait for an Assessment!

There are instances when family doctors prefer to wait to refer for further assessments. Early intervention is crucial, and you don’t have to wait until your child starts school. You can ask for a second opinion from another doctor, seek advice from a community resource agency or see a private psychologist. Psychology fees can be claimed through workplace benefits plans and your income tax.

Depending on the final diagnosis, you might need to see different kinds of specialists, such as behavioral therapists, speech therapists, learning strategists, psychologists, and so on. You can also access support from a social worker depending on your family’s needs. 


My Child Doesn’t Need a Label

It’s important to note that awareness and perception of learning disabilities vary between societies and are sometimes not widely acknowledged. Due to cultural pressure, some people may choose isolation and denial, and consciously avoid seeking services or diagnosis because they fear their children will be labeled. It’s crucial to remember that if your child has a learning disability, it simply means that their learning process is different, and they need support for learning. In fact, without a diagnosis, they will not be eligible to receive supports at school. Your child with a learning disability is capable and can be as successful as they want to be but they will need your support and advocacy. 

If your child is a preschooler and has been diagnosed, their learning needs can be addressed through special programming at a preschool center. School-aged children can access intervention, accommodations and special programming through the school boards. It’s important to work closely with the educational institution to support your child’s educational journey. Your involvement is key to their success. Your advocacy is crucial to achieving their life goals.


About the Author

Luz Buritica is the Coordinator of Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) at the  Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association (CIWA). Originally an engineer in Colombia, she joined the HIPPY program as a Mom a year after arriving in Canada. The program had a positive impact on her life, helping her daughter develop cognitive skills through simple and enjoyable activities. After two years as a HIPPY mother, Luz became a Home Visitor, supporting and empowering other families. Her experience led her to become a team leader and take on the coordinator position in 2015.

CIWA supports immigrant and refugee women, girls and their families. They offer more than 50 programs that can support individuals with settlement needs, language and employment training, family matters, seniors’ services, career and entrepreneurship, and mental health.

Self-advocacy is a term that is used quite often within the context of learning disabilities and ADHD. Generally speaking, self-advocacy refers to the ability to know what you may need in a particular situation and the ability to ask for what you need in that moment. With both learning disabilities and ADHD, knowing what you need may not always be obvious and knowing how to ask may be easier said than done. As an educational psychologist, part of my job is to help clients become more skilled and confident with knowing when and how to ask for what they need. An important aspect of self-advocacy is developing insight into your own strengths and challenges, which can be learned through the psychoeducational assessment process. 


How Assessments Help with Self-Advocacy

Psychoeducational assessments can serve a variety of purposes. They can provide a profile of the individual’s learning strengths and challenges, identify any learning disabilities or other barriers to learning, and clarify what strategies or programming the individual may benefit from. As an educational psychologist, I have observed how the knowledge that is gained from a psychoeducational assessment can empower my clients to advocate for themselves at school, work, in the community and in their personal relationships. 

An assessment provides a diagnosis or explanation as to why an individual struggles with learning or managing aspects of their life, which can empower the individual to ask for what they need to be successful. However, it is important to note that self-advocacy not only requires knowing your diagnosis, but it is also important to have a firm understanding of how your diagnosis impacts you in daily life. For example, ADHD can cause stress for some people in social settings if they struggle with impulsivity (e.g., interrupting during conversations). When I deliver assessment results to my clients, I also provide information about the diagnosis, how we currently understand it through research, and generally what types of strategies and supports have helped others with the same diagnosis. 

When you receive any diagnosis from any medical practitioner, you should be allowed to ask questions about the diagnosis, how it impacts you now, how it may impact you in the future, and what resources and supports are available to you. Sometimes, there is not enough time at one appointment to discuss assessment results and next steps for supporting you or your child, so ask the practitioner if you can meet with them again in the near future with any additional questions you may have. 


Disclosing the Diagnosis and Asking for Supports

Another important topic that I discuss with my clients after providing them with assessment results is issues related to disclosing the diagnosis to others. Learning how and when to disclose your diagnosis is an important part of self-advocacy. It allows you to take control of your personal information and how it will be used to access supports and accommodations at school and work. 

Because each client has their own unique background, I discuss the pros and cons of disclosing their diagnosis in various settings specific to them, such as school versus work versus with family members. When you complete an assessment with your practitioner be sure to have a discussion with them about disclosing your diagnosis to others and how that may impact you. For example, ask your practitioner how disclosing your diagnosis at work may be beneficial for receiving certain accommodations (e.g., speech-to-text programs). Being thoughtful about how and when you disclose your diagnosis is critical for self-advocacy. 


Having Realistic Expectations for Self-Advocacy

When I work with families, I often discuss the importance of parents helping their children to develop self-advocacy skills as they mature. However, I also point out that self-advocacy is not easy for most of us, and it can be even more difficult for youth who have difficulties with executive functioning. Learning disabilities and ADHD often involve challenges with self-monitoring, planning and thinking about future outcomes. It is important that parents also understand that their child may not always know when they need to advocate for themselves or how to do so. 

Having a balanced approach with youth who are still developing their executive functioning skills is important. Parents and teachers can help youth to gain confidence to ask for what they need, but also provide support and guidance at times when youth struggle to know what they need and how to ask for it. For example, a parent or teacher may notice that a student is struggling to stay focused on their schoolwork. They could ask the student, “I’ve noticed that you might be having some difficulty staying focused right now, what do you think would be helpful for you?” and in this way, help to remind them of existing strategies they can choose from. This balanced approach becomes particularly important in high school as academic demands increase along with expectations for increased independence. 


Self-Advocacy is a Life-Long Process

For children and adults with learning disabilities and/or ADHD, self-advocacy is a life-long process. Receiving a diagnosis is only the beginning of the journey. Self-advocacy is how you use the diagnosis throughout your life to access supports, accommodations and resources so that you can experience success and a good quality of life. For parents, this may mean frequent communication with their child’s teachers to ensure that classroom strategies and supports are put in place. For adults, this may mean asking for access to a particular technology that will allow you to complete your work duties more accurately and efficiently. As you grow and learn more about how a diagnosis impacts you, your ability to self-advocate will strengthen and contribute to more positive outcomes in your life.  


About the author: Krista Forand, M.Ed., Registered Psychologist, of Compass Psychology, practices in Calgary and is a member of the Network’s Supports for Adults Action Team.  “Krista’s training and experience have primarily focused on working with youth and adults who, due to challenges with learning, attention, and social skills, have had difficulty achieving their potential. As a psychologist, she provides thoughtful and comprehensive psychoeducational assessments including learning assessments. This helps clients understand how they learn, process information and how they can help themselves achieve their goals.”

Did you have accommodations in high school?

Extra time on tests, a quiet testing space, extensions on assignments, or the use of assistive technology like speech-to-text software or a screen reader, are typical accommodations in high school classrooms. You may have had teachers who were understanding and supportive of your challenges with disabilities, whether physical or invisible like ADHD, Learning Disabilities or anxiety, and accommodated to varying degrees. However, it’s likely that the entire process of asking for and receiving those accommodations, which culminate in a formal, signed Individual Program Plan (IPP, IEP or LSP depending on your school board), was accomplished solely by your parents and teachers through rounds of calls, emails and meetings, with little input from you. 


That is not how it works in post-secondary.

Accessing academic accommodations and support at the post-secondary level is significantly different to the way in which you received academic accommodations and support in high school. One of the key differences is that in the post-secondary landscape, the student plays a key role as a self-advocate. The student, not the parent, has the responsibility to initiate and be involved in the academic accommodation process. Many high school students with disabilities can feel especially overwhelmed by both the transition to post-secondary itself, as well as to their new role as a self-advocate. This sudden transition from being just a recipient of accommodations to now orchestrating them, can be both challenging and stressful.


What is the Duty to Accommodate?

In the post-secondary environment, increased independence and privileges are balanced by increased personal and academic responsibilities. The provincial legislation that establishes the Duty to Accommodate on the post-secondary institution includes a whole array of rights and responsibilities held by all the key stakeholders, including the students themselves. In some ways, accessing accommodations and supports at the post-secondary level is easier, and the range of ways to reduce learning barriers, more comprehensive and consistent than in high school simply because the legislation governing the processes is different. But it all begins with you, the student, being confident enough to start that ball rolling.


What do I need to say?

Consider how comfortable you are with the following skills:

  • contacting the accessibility office either by phone, email or in-person
  • meeting with an accessibility advisor
  • discussing the impact of your disability
  • describing which accommodations best support your learning
  • approaching an instructor or professor to discuss your accommodations
  • explaining accommodations to group members on collaborative projects
  • advocating for yourself when difficulties arise


These communication skills are critical to your success as a student with a disability.  If you did not have the opportunity to develop or hone these in high school or in some other setting prior to transitioning to post-secondary, then you need to practice them. Work with your parents or friends to role-play through various scenarios. Perhaps the guidance counsellor, learning support staff or one of your teachers at high school will set aside some time to work with you. Reach out to academic or self-advocacy coaches for practice sessions.

Become comfortable with talking about what you need to be a successful student.  You have the right to accommodations, you have the responsibility to ensure them.


About the Author:  Dr. Ana Pardo is passionate about empowering high school students with disabilities to advocate for themselves at the post-secondary level. She is the head of Academic Accommodation Advising – Bridge the Gap and has spent the last thirty-five years of her career examining disability, diversity and equity issues. Most recently, she has been the Director of Access and Inclusion Services at Mount Royal University and was previously the Director of Accessibility Services at the University of Calgary.

We know that even as adults, self-advocacy can be really tough. Whether we are explaining to our school principal that we need more supplies, the house painter that the job needs to be done this month, not next, or our physician that a medication is not working for us, we are advocating for ourselves.  It can be hard getting others to listen, but we also know that it is necessary and provides a sense of power over our daily lives.

In our classrooms, self-advocacy for students goes hand-in-hand with metacognition, the personal awareness of how we learn. First, this requires an acknowledgement on the part of the teacher of the diversity of learning, recognizing that we all learn differently.  Second is the understanding that self-advocacy is a life skill which is important to teach; the bonus being that it makes classroom management easier.


Modelling self-advocacy in the early grades

As always, good teaching begins with modelling.  In the early grades, we instruct our students about classroom routines such as coming to the story circle or settling in after recess.  Model for your students what works best for you.  

“I’m most ready for reading circle when the papers are off my desk so I can see where our reading book is.” 

Have them each tell what works best for them for coming to the reading circle.  They will have a lot of different ideas:  

“When my shoelaces are tied.”  

“When I’ve checked the visual agenda.”  

“When my learning buddy gives me the signal.”  

Once your students have established what works best for each of them, you can just provide statements that remind them.  “I am clearing the papers off my desk to get ready for story time. Is everybody doing what they need to do to get ready?  Great! Now we’re ready to move to our circle.”  This takes the pressure off you and puts the power and responsibility where it belongs, in your students’ hands.


When they reach upper elementary

In upper elementary grades, as students begin moving from class to class, teachers can model the same technique.  At the beginning of each term, set the tone of accepting diversity in learning.  Then model self-advocacy in your classes.  You can begin saying something like:

“It works best for me if you all know what we are going to do in class, so I’ll put a mini-schedule for each period on the board.  That will give you a minute to decide what you need to do so you’re ready to learn.” 

That can be followed by a class discussion of the different ways students can demonstrate that they are ready to learn.  It might seem like this takes too much extra time, but you’ll make that time back, because when students feel you are allowing them some control over their learning, you’ll spend much less time in organizing them and in managing the behaviour that results when students don’t feel they have power over their own learning.

When self-advocacy is modelled this way by teachers and expected of all students in a class, it becomes the norm for everyone.  It creates the expectation that everyone has not only responsibility for their learning but has power over their own learning.  It creates a culture of acceptance that means that students with special needs feel that they, too, have power over their learning. 


Stepping up self-advocacy in high school

In junior and senior high, many students come to us with specific needs that must be individually accommodated.  In my experience, most teenagers are not very skilled in self-advocacy.  Most, but not all.  I had a first-hand lesson in self-advocacy one day as a tiny blond tornado whirled into my office.  Her jacket was half off, one shoelace was undone and her backpack was exploding papers, pencils and lunch bags in her wake. As she arrived, she waved some papers at me and said, “I have an IPP and my mom said you would help me.”  Her statement was so unique that it opened my eyes to the fact that the other teens I worked with were not advocating for themselves.  

With that insight, I realized that I’d been advocating for my students instead of giving them the power to do it themselves.  So, I changed my practice.  When students needed extra time, a quiet place to write, or to complete only some instead of all the math problems, we would rehearse together the conversation that needed to happen.  First, my students needed to understand that the format of the conversation needed to be respectful, but also that expectations needed to be clear.  They needed to understand, themselves, that they were not asking for a favour, they were explaining the need for appropriate accommodations so they could engage in learning.  We made sure the conversation always started with some version of, “I learn best when…”  or “I can show what I know if I can…”  Once the conversation was ready, we would make an appointment with the teacher.  I always went with the student for the first meeting and always offered to go to the next one.  Surprisingly, that was never necessary!  It seemed that once my students knew they could advocate for themselves, they were more than happy to do it independently.

Independence with self-advocacy is enhanced when teachers set the tone early in the semester or school year.  Acknowledging to the whole class that everyone learns differently and that some people may need accommodations for their learning will open the door for students to approach teachers to explain what they need.  One university instructor I know does it in his introductory lecture. Then he invites anyone who requires learning or testing accommodations to meet privately with him to plan what will work best for the student’s learning.  He also reminds students that it is very hard to provide accommodations if he doesn’t know about them until twenty minutes before the final exam.  He gets a great response from students who need accommodations – and he doesn’t run around in the minutes before exams anymore trying to match accommodations to student needs.  It’s a method that works at the university level and it works just as well at junior and senior high school levels.


Self-advocacy is for every learner

Teaching self-advocacy starts with the acknowledgement of learning diversity.  Everyone learns differently, not just those with special needs.  Teachers who model self-advocacy demonstrate that it is important for all of us, that we all require different things to meet our needs sometimes and it is acceptable to ask for and expect to receive these. It paves the way for responsibility and accountability in the learning process. When we create a learning culture where self-advocacy is the norm and when we model that accommodations are necessities, not favours, we enable all our students to seize the power for their own learning. 

From a parent’s perspective…

Self-advocacy is a skill that needs to be learned, but developing this skill by those with a Learning Disability (LD) and/or ADHD can be a real challenge that takes a lot of time and practice.

When my daughter with LD was young, I was her main advocate. I learned how to work with educators and other professionals and would speak up on her behalf. But, I knew that as she got older, she would need to become her own advocate.

Helping her learn self-advocacy skills had to be a priority for us if she was to become a confident adult. Getting there was much more difficult and time consuming than I anticipated.


What are the first steps?

For us, the first step was helping her to understand what her specific challenges were and what supports and accommodations helped her to be successful. Encouraging her to take those initial self-advocacy steps came next. She was diagnosed in grade 4 and that year was largely focused on us simply getting our heads around the diagnosis and what it meant. Beginning in grade 5 and in consultation with the school, we started to put actions in place with an IPP

Those first steps were very simple: just learning how to ask for help. For example, during a test, she would cough when the teacher walked by if she needed clarification about a question on the test. However, despite the agreement of the teacher to use this prompt to get his attention, he never responded to any of her “coughs”.  Even when I spoke with the teacher immediately before the tests and he reiterated his support for that action, he never responded. We then tried having her drop her pencil as he walked down the aisle of desks. That too didn’t lead to acknowledgement or support, despite the fact that test accommodations were clearly outlined in her IPP.  First brave steps even if they didn’t quite work out.

We also began to focus on having her participate in class by raising her hand and offering an answer or asking a question in class. This did not come easily as she was far more comfortable staying under the teacher’s radar and giving the illusion that she was busy working at her desk. Many weeks we would get to Friday before her hand went up.

In grade 6, at a new school, things were a bit better but my daughter was still hesitant to speak up. We even role-played at home as to what she should say when she needed support. We would practice specific asks for assistance, but still met with limited success. She was hesitant to speak up and the teacher was often more focused on other students with their own needs rather than supporting her initial self-advocacy attempts.  


How does self-advocacy change in Junior High?

Junior High, with different teachers for several subjects, and a resource teacher in the school, provided new challenges as well as some successes. Time spent working with the resource teacher helped my daughter understand the positive impact that accommodations could have, but getting them from all of her teachers was still a challenge. Her Math teacher, in particular, was very resistant to putting in place the accommodations outlined in her IPP. However, her Language Arts teacher took it upon herself to talk with him about learning disabilities and how they impact learning and that helped, a bit.

I will always be grateful to her for understanding the situation and taking the initiative to help a colleague learn more about the specific challenges that a student with LD faces.  It definitely clarified for us that we needed to think about who our “allies” were and learn to try and work with and through them. 


What Can You Expect in High School?

In high school, we started to slowly shift the lead on advocating to our daughter. We still role-played before she approached teachers with her needs. We would talk about specific questions to ask and often sent her off with prompt cards that she could refer to.  We were very fortunate to have a resource teacher in the school who worked with us to support the development of her advocacy skills.

By the end of high school, she was still a long way from being able to be her own advocate but she was definitely on her way. We really appreciated those teachers who supported her early advocacy attempts to speak up for what she needed. Their sensitivity to her emerging confidence was very helpful in reinforcing those early self-advocacy efforts.


How Do I Self-Advocate as an Adult in University?

Here, she was considered an adult and I was no longer able to take a role in her advocacy. Now she really needed to take the lead. 

As she began her university studies, she chose, with some encouragement, to self-identify at the Disability Centre. There she was matched with a tutor who was very helpful in providing her with guidance for managing in this new environment as well as working with her on strategies for learning. Some professors were open to providing the accommodations that she needed, and some were not.  We continued to role play at home before asks, continued to look for allies who could step in and help when needed. 

At one point there was an issue with the exam schedule. One of my daughter‘s accommodations was double time for exams.  When the exam schedule came out, two exams overlapped. She was unable to get one changed on her own, but her path had crossed several times with the Director of the Disability Centre and so she went to her for guidance. The Director took it upon herself to get the issue resolved. Situations like this provided the positive reinforcement that accommodations were there for a reason and that the university needed to see that they were put in place. It also reinforced the importance of finding allies.

As she progressed through her university studies, each successful advocacy situation led to increased confidence. By the time she completed her academic programs, she was able to advocate on her own behalf in most situations.  Now that she is in the working world, she is very comfortable self-disclosing and asking for what she needs to be successful.   


Reflecting on First Steps

In retrospect, I’m glad that we started the process of developing her self-advocacy skills when she was still in elementary school. It was very much a building process over many years with successes coming very slowly at first. Through patience and persistence on our part as her parents, and finding and working with allies, she slowly gained that initial confidence that she could ask for, and receive, what she needed for accommodations that would ultimately lead to success. I am the very proud parent of a young woman who is herself now a professor at university, still advocating for herself and leading others on this journey.