Self-advocacy - Durham College - Centre for Students with Disabilities

Uploaded by DurhamCollege on 02.05.2012

Self-advocacy, a lot of people think it's just talking or speaking up for oneself.
But it's a lot more than just speaking up and asking for what you need.
It's also knowing what you need, so it begins with understanding your disability.
It's important for students to advocate for themselves because it gives them a chance
not only to meet with the professors and go over it,
it makes it easier later on if they're needing more help or if something's wrong with their
accommodations to talk to the professors about it.
Self-advocacy, to me, basically means identifying my needs and being able to find a way to achieve
When I came in, I was actually sitting down, going over what I had, what I might need to
change, what would work for me in the centre, and what I need that I didn't have before.
Part of that is that they have to come to terms with the fact that they are still an
independent adult by using accommodations.
Using accommodations is not a dependency, using accommodations is bridging the gap of
their disabilities.
That's being a self-advocate.
It's proactively looking to the resources to lessen the impact of your disability and
increase your strengths.
About two weeks before I started at Durham College they had a transition week, and through
that week they showed us our disabilities.
We learned about it and it also helped me to figure out what combinations I needed.
It begins with understanding your disability because two people are not the same.
Learning disabilities are a little bit different because they're very unique, and so the first
part is having an assessment and reading it, which unfortunately many of our students have
never done before coming to college.
Once you've read it, you understand the language of it, which it is very difficult to understand,
and then you understand how that will affect you in your particular course, then it's like
asking for what you need.
With high school it was the centre telling my teachers what I'm needing, where here they
help me keep up with my accommodations but they also keep me in pace with everyone else
so I don't feel behind or rushed or frazzled.
In high school and in elementary school much of arranging accommodations are done by parents
and teachers, here in the post-secondary environment it becomes the student's responsibilities
to let those impositions of teaching or in the centre or in services know their needs.
It becomes their responsibility to come and ask for assistance.
I knew that I was always going to have a disability but I should learn to go forward and say I'm
going to have challenges but I just need to push through it and deal with it.
I think I would've been setting myself up for failure if I hadn't asked for the support
that I'm receiving right now.
There are a lot of barriers, there are a lot of unknowns that crop up and disclose your
Don't be afraid to disclose your disability because they're familiar with all different
types, visible and invisible disabilities.
You need to get to do it for your own good and your own success.