you may also like

Incorporating Self-Advocacy Skills

Does your student have a backpack? Know the teacher’s name? How to manage their hearing loss at school?

Whether you are heading back to school or getting ready for your baby to start kindergarten, a new school year brings both excitement and anxiety!

It is vital that even the youngest children begin to advocate for their needs as early as 3 years of age (check out AJ and Gibson—this video was filmed right before they entered kindergarten—at age 4!). Auditory access at all times ensures academic and social interaction. Start building your child’s self-advocacy skills by making them responsible for batteries for hearing technology, such as hearing aids, cochlear implant processors and FM systems.

Prepare your child
  • Teach your child to recognize the signs when their batteries need to be changed and to ask someone for help (if they need it).
  • Practice what they will say when that happens and discuss who they might have to tell.
  • Practice changing batteries at home.
  • Some families have found it helpful to schedule regular battery changing to ensure continued listening ability.
  • As soon as possible, discuss with your child and their teacher about how your child should handle it when batteries need to be replaced.
  • Make sure to review this with your child as part of your daily "What did you do at school today?" chat.
  • Make a plan with your child about where extra batteries will be kept and inform his/her teacher.
  • When sending extra batteries, keep in mind that if your child is using a personal FM, they may go through batteries quickly.

By involving your child as early as possible in something as important and easy as managing their batteries, you are beginning to foster self-advocacy skills. You have helped your child become an independent listener; with auditory access and self-advocacy skills the school can help your child become an independent learner.

By: Monica Faherty, M.S., CCC-SLP, itinerant teacher of students who are deaf and hard of hearing and owner of Rule the School, and Cara King, B.S., director of sales and marketing for Rule the School.

This article is sponsored by Rule the School—supporting independence through self-advocacy.

Want to know more about self-advocacy at school?
More resources about mainstreaming