Self-advocacy is the ability to confidently communicate your needs, your thoughts, feelings and preferences. For children and adults with hearing loss it allows you to speak up, to make the changes needed into your environment, confident of your rights. Good self-advocacy is a key factor for successful social integration and inclusion in classrooms. It is vital for long term mental wellbeing and good self esteem and in term relies on self-confidence, good communication and language skills.
We need to give young children with hearing loss the skills needed to draw people’s attention the things they find difficult like when people are not facing them, there is lots of background noise or when their hearing device is not working.
Listen to the interviews from some of our young adults from our Hear Together community about how they use assistive technology as one of the ways to self advocate for themselves as part of apprenticeship programmes, at work and at university.
Qais talks about self advocating using his mini mic, an additional assistive listening device, during his work internship:
Robert explains how he uses his Phonak Roger Pen, a type of assistive listening device, in lectures and learning to be more confident about self advocating socially.
Abi is a bilateral cochlear implant user, who uses spoken language as her main mode of communication but is also a fluent BSL user. Abi talks to Hear Together about an additional bit of assistive listening technology that has helped her at work.
Hear Together would also like to share some of the tools, programmes and resources that they have found helpful for encouraging self-advocacy skills in children that will nurture established habits in adulthood.
- Phonak’s Self Advocacy Checklist :
This checklist has suggested skills relating to personal health and medical information, hearing and other assistive technology use, and accommodations.
- Success for kids with hearing loss has two great posts.
One on apps and the other on self advocacy materials:
- The Guide to Self-Advocacy Skill Development from teacher tools take out
It is a suggested sequence for students to attain self-advocacy skills from preschool through grade four/year 5, after which students should be able to repair communication breakdowns and advocate for their listening and learning needs appropriately. This hierarchy is a useful assessment tool as it provides age expectations for specific skills
- Smile Therapy :
Karin Schamroth, SmiLE Therapy programme is a wonderful resource for developing communication strategies to clarify and repair communication breakdowns and self advocate in a variety of environments.
From the great site “Hearing Like me” read the article from Melissa Hyder, "How to teach self-advocacy skills to my child with hearing loss"