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Tuesday Tip

Empowerment is the process of becoming stronger and more confident in controlling one's life and claiming one's rights.

I'm going to give you some tips you can share and use during the remainder of the school to empower your scholar. Scholars must understand that empowerment is one of those things you give to yourself and can not be given to you by someone else. The more they practice empowerment the easier it becomes. Empowerment does not mean that they will never have feelings of anxiety or fear or never feel threatened or intimidated. It means that despite any of those feelings they are still going to:

  • Speak up for yourself in a clear authoritative way

  • Describe your strengths, needs, interests and goals, desires/wishes for the future

  • Know your needs and wants

  • Ask for what you need or want

  • Understand how your disability affects YOU

  1. Describing your disability to others and how it uniquely affects you

  2. Making sure it is the right time and right place

  • Take responsibility for yourself, obtain help, and look out for yourself

  • Share what works and doesn’t work

  • Shar e concerns or fear

  • Learn to accept assistance from others!

  • Take responsibility and ask for accommodations

  • Find out about your rights

  • Know who to ask if you have a question in each environment (school, college, work, healthcare)



1. Communication

  • A 2 year old self-advocates with pointing and temper tantrums

2. Making decisions

3. Preferences vs dislikes

4. We teach that with forced choices – pick between these two

5. Use of Ask or Tell skills

6. Can I do this

7. This is not working for me

8. Avoid misconceptions

  • I need more time to talk in the group – I am not being rude

9. Ask for what you want or need

  • I have my phone on because I'm recoding the class to review over what was discussed today.

  • I use my phone to record my homework

10. Others need the information too to understand

11. Knowing your strengths

12. Knowing your educational needs/weaknesses – so you can get support

13. Knowing your goals and dreams

14. Knowing what Supports / Accommodations / Modifications are available

  • Taking test in a small group setting

  • Extended time

  • Having a test read to you

  • Having help from a teacher

  • Asking to retake a test you have failed

Tips for parents, guardians

  • Be assertive

  • You must know your rights or ask for a clear explanation (Direct instruction and practice – think about the 2 year old)

  • You must know the law works for you and your scholar

  • Ask for a list of ALL available resources

  • You have educational rights and schools don’t always tell you about them!

  • Knowing when and how to approach others

  • Negotiating desired goals

  • Building an understanding and trust

  • Creating safety comfort and productivity

  • Self-disclosure or explanation as to why an accommodation is needed


Here are some examples of scripts you can use with your scholar to self-advocate during the academic day and in preparation for their Individualized Education Programs meetings. You can remind them to use or have others prompt them.

  1. I don’t like it when ____.

  2. I need ____ to be able to _____.

  3. My IEP says I am to be supported with ____.

  4. I need your help with ____.

  5. I need assistance breaking this down.

  6. Did I break this down correctly?

  7. I need assistance figuring out how long this will take.

  8. What tools will I need to do this/ to start this?

  9. What do I need to do first?

  10. How do I put this on my calendar so I will remember?

  11. Can you check to see if I put it on my calendar correctly?

  12. I find it difficult to ___.

  13. I shut down / get frustrated when ____.

  14. It is over whelming to me when ____.

  15. I need you to review the steps again with me please.

  16. I need you to write the steps out for me please.

  17. I am guessing - can we take a break and start again.

  18. Can you repeat exactly what you just said, but slower?

  19. Can I sit where I can see you when you are talking?

  20. Can I have more time to think?

  21. I am getting overwhelmed.

  22. I need a break.

The ultimate goal of this Tuesday Tip is teach empowerment and self-advocacy skills to your scholar. We all love to make choices and this puts them in charge of the choices they need for success. If your scholar doesn't tell people what they need they can't get the accommodations and supports they need to be successful.

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