Promoting Self-Advocacy

In the world of special education and service systems for youth with disabilities, transition describes the coordinated set of services that helps a young person with a disability move from school to postsecondary activities. Transition should be student centered and student-driven, focusing on the strengths, needs, interests, abilities, and goals of the young person. Transition planning is an individualized and unique experience for each student, but there are several steps that should be taken to encourage student participation and self-advocacy.

How To Encourage Self-Advocacy During Transition

  • As early as age 12, begin including your student in discussions of transition services and planning
  • Work on independent living skills at home and in school: communication, travel, socialization, daily life activities, self-determination, self-advocacy, career exploration, etc.
  • Explore transportation options together, including travel training through school or other support programs and MTA programs (Access-A-Ride, Reduced-Fare MetroCards)
  • Encourage your student to build out their resume by applying for Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP), summer internships, volunteer opportunities, and/or Training Opportunities Program (TOP)
  • Obtain photo ID card
  • Register to vote at 18 years old
  • Educate your student on change in law: entitlement eligibility (IDEA ADA)
    – Discuss postsecondary accommodations/programs needed
  • Help your student research, tour, and apply to postsecondary training and/or adult disability service programs
  • Encourage student to participate in final IEP meeting
    – Click here to watch a video on how to participate in an IEP meetingĀ 
  • Explore/apply to appropriate state supports: ACCES-VR, OPWDD, OMH

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