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Self Advocacy

Barriers to Self-Advocacy

Students may not self-advocate effectively for many reasons. For example, they may:  

  • be unable to clearly describe their abilities, needs and the conditions that best promote their learning due to language barriers, poor social skills, a lack of practice or a lack of knowledge of themselves as learners  
  • not know who to contact to get help, what to ask for, or how to best use supports 
  • not have been directly taught appropriate self-advocacy skills and/or do not have someone to coach them through situations where they might need to self-advocate  
  • have limited confidence in their abilities and as a result, they may be reluctant to ask questions in class or request extra assistance  
  • be passive in their approach to their education, feeling that their future is beyond their control—this includes relying on their parents and teachers to advocate for them  
  • be discouraged because they have encountered people who do not understand the level of ability required in Knowledge and Employability courses. 


Alberta Education. (2005). Self-advocacy. Www.LearnAlberta.Ca.