The greatest power is love
The greatest comfort is kindness
The greatest resolution is self knowledge
Self Advocacy—is knowing what you want, knowing what
you do well and what you have difficulty doing. Self advocacy is
knowing your rights and your needs and expressing that information
to the appropriate person.
An effective self advocate must be able to determine the optimum
time to make their request(s), recognize an adverse reaction to
the request and/or determine if the person receiving the request
understands the need and suggested solution. (Sands, D. J. &
Doll, B. 1996 Fostering Self Determination is a Developmental Task,
Journal of Special Education)
Good self advocacy empowers people and allows them access to reasonable
accommodations and strategies. (Brinkckerhoff, 1994, and Weller,
Watteyne, Herbert & Creely, 1994)
Becoming a good self advocate is a process. Ideally advocacy skills
begin development in middle school. As needs and focus change so
should self advocacy skills.
- Be able to identify yourself by your strengths—I do
____ well, I am comfortable _____, I know _______, It works well
for me when ________.
- Understand your disability and how it impacts your performance.
This may require support and assistance from professionals, family
members and other adults with learning disabilities. A good place
to start is contacting someone from the Adult Issues Committee
of LDA of America or your local LDA affiliate office.
- Familiarize yourself with the Americans with Disabilities
Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehab Act. Know and understand
the protections these laws do or do not provide.
- Get help determining what accommodations (external aids),
strategies (personal changes or modifications) and technology
(gadgets) will help you. The Job Accommodations Network (JAN)
is a federally funded resource that offers individualized information
packets, employer information and answers questions about accommodations.
Ph: 1-800-526-7234 or http://www.jan.wvu.edu/.
- Identify who you will discuss your needs with in the workplace.
This should be a personal choice made after considering the company
policies, the personalities and who actually needs to know. One
logical person might be your direct supervisor but the choice
should be made carefully and with input from your support circle.
- Know what you want and how you are going to ask for it before
you begin a first conversation. Practice, practice, practice.
One strategy that has proven helpful, is role playing the discussion
about what your disability is and what strategies, accommodations
and technology helps overcome the problem. It is in your best
interest to come with suggestions and solutions rather than expecting
the employer to figure out what helps. (Washington State Learning
Disabilities Project, 1990)
- Update and Reevaluate. Be up front sharing how much the
accommodation and changes worked. Be sure to find out how it has
impacted your employer. (Sometimes what started as an accommodation
for one, actually improves performance for many). Don’t
forget to say thank you for your support, yes it’s the law
but a little appreciation goes a long way.
|Difficulty reading materials
(memos, e-mails, etc)
- Assign a reader - use company microphone
- Highlight important/vital info
- Record info onto individual’s voice mail
|Difficulty following sequences
- Teach the steps slowly and in order
- Use markers, color coding, charts and patterns
- Allow time for practice
- Develop diagrams or flow charts
|Difficulty managing time
- Use computer, desk calendar, personal alarm (watch, pager)
- Help set priorities and give adequate warning of changes
- Ask to be in a less distracting place, away from passageways,
doors, excess noise and movements.
- Ask to take shorter but more frequent breaks…2 -
- Hang a “Busy”, No interruptions Sign
- Use your own voice-say it again
- Use sticky notes
- Use rhymes, chants, songs, rhythm
- Pictures—draw it, visualize it,
- Journals, binders, calendars, computer minders
LDA Adult Issues Committee
4156 Library Rd.
Pittsburgh, PA 15234-1349