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Teacher Assisting a Student

Self Advocacy Skills

Why is self-advocacy so important during the transition to college?

The transition from high school to college is a significant for all students, but for students with autism, ADHD or other learning differences it can be even more daunting. In high school, the support system of teachers and parents are at the ready to ensure that they stay on track and an IEP or 504 plan that clearly outlines the accommodations and support. Suddenly, in college, there is no IEP and students are are required to take on the responsibility on their own.


This requires that they are ready to advocate for themselves and their needs! It can be difficult at first, but we are here to help build these skills while still in high school so that students are better prepared when starting college. They will need to:

Know their rights

It is important to know the accommodations and support services available to them as a neurodivergent student. This may include things like extra time on exams, note-taking assistance, or alternative testing formats. They need to know to speak with the disability office to ensure that they get the accommodations they need.

Know how to communicate their needs

They need to be prepared to explain how their neurodivergence affects them and what accommodations they require and have the right to receive. It is up to the student to speak to each professor about their accommodations or they won't receive them. 


Know what their needs are and how to care for themselves

Self-care is important for maintaining physical, emotional, and mental well-being. For some neurodivergent students that may mean ensuring some time alone or avoiding loud parties or over being able to speak to a roommate about needing the room to be dark at night. It is important to learn how to speak up for what you need in order to thrive.

Be assertive

Students need to remember that it is their right to have equal access to education and to be treated with respect, and not be afraid to ask for help or to remind others of your accommodations.

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