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Self advocacy

Self-advocacy means looking out for yourself, knowing what you need, and communicating your needs effectively to others. Self-advocacy is a skill that your child can learn from an early age with help and practice. Self-advocacy will provide your child with an important skill that supports lifelong success.

There are three key elements to teach your child:

1. Understanding their needs

  • Teach your child about their hearing loss and the implications in the classroom, the playground, and so on.
  • Teach your child the correct names for the different parts of their listening devices and how to manage their devices independently.

Children need the vocabulary and understanding of their hearing loss to explain their needs to others.

2. Knowing what kind of support might help

  • Explore your child’s strengths and challenges with them and encourage them to think of solutions.
  • Teach your child about their rights and the importance of asking for help when needed.
  • Organising a deaf or HOH mentor is a good way to help your child think about what is possible and seek solutions.

3. Communicating their needs to others

  • Practice how your child might ask their teacher to support their needs.
  • Practice assertive communication and teach the benefits of communicating their needs in an open and respectful way.

Communication and confidence are the keys to effective self-advocacy.

Advocacy skills should be practised in various situations by your child. These should include school, social groups, professional consultations, restaurants and cafes, and other times when there may be barriers that can be overcome. Give your child opportunities to self-advocate, and remember to stand back and allow them to practise their skills.

Download the Real Life Tips infographic.

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