March 27th, 2018

Agents of Their Own Success: Self-Advocacy Skills and Self-Determination for Students with Disabilities in the Era of Personalized Learning

As more education reform efforts prioritize student voice and choice, it is essential to ensure that all learners have the opportunity to practice agency, especially within personalized learning systems. For this reason, the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) is proud to release the report, Agents of Their Own Success: Self-Advocacy Skills and Self-Determination for Students with Disabilities in the Era of Personalized Learning.

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The report, which was made possible by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, highlights research-based steps students, families, educators, policy makers, and other key stakeholders in our education system can take to ensure all students are equipped with self-advocacy skills and the capacity for self-determination: elements we know are critical to their success in personalized learning settings.  

NCLD developed resources to ensure that every stakeholder knows the important role they can play in helping students develop essential self-advocacy skills and the capacity for self-determination. Here are some of the activities each stakeholder can engage in to make a difference:

  • Students: Learn about strategies that can help you take ownership of the process, like using a personalized learning plan, engaging in IEP and transition meetings, and learning more about your disabilities and rights. 
  • Families: Find out how you can be engaged in supporting your student’s development of self-advocacy skills, like participating in school meetings and advocating for instruction that helps students develop self-advocacy skills and self-determination.
  • Educators (Teachers and Leaders): Learn about strategies to foster self-advocacy skills in the classroom and throughout the school, like using explicit instruction and assessments to measure students’ progress or encouraging participation in mentoring programs.
  • School Counselors: Find out how you can integrate a focus on self-advocacy skills into your work through personalized learning plans and focusing on student experiences that can lead to developing self-advocacy skills and self-determination.
  • Higher Education Faculty: Learn about actions faculty at institutions of higher education can take to help students with disabilities develop the self-advocacy skills and self-determination they need to be successful.
  • Postsecondary Leaders: Find out what actions postsecondary leaders at colleges and universities can take to empower every student to achieve their potential by enabling students with disabilities to practice greater self-advocacy skills and self-determination.
  • Policymakers (State and Federal): Understand how policies can offer opportunities for schools to focus on or students to develop self-advocacy skills, like policies that support out-of-school learning opportunities or changes in federal education laws.

NCLD believes the future of education is one where all children play an active role in their own education, whether they have a disability or not. We look forward to continuing this important work and strengthening partnerships with organizations and stakeholders across the field to ensure innovative approaches to learning fully include students with disabilities.

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