More and more in the world of education, particularly in the K-12 realm, the subject of self-advocacy is coming up in discussions. We may hear our teachers, coaches, and guidance counselors using this term in conversations with us from time to time, and rightfully so. Developing self-advocacy skills are critical for success in life and career.
But just what is self-advocacy? What do we mean by this term, and how will developing skills in this area help us in life and career? Let's explore this concept further, because this is a very important and meaningful subject to spend some time on.
Simply put, self-advocacy (also referred to as advocacy, advocating for yourself, or advocating for one's self) means to not be afraid to ask for help or for clarification when the need arises. It means having the courage to speak up for yourself when something doesn't make sense or feel right, or when you need some kind of assistance.
These are necessary skills to develop, and you'll need them all throughout life to be successful in all kinds of situations, life stages, and settings - in school and college, in the workplace, with family and friends, etc.
You should never be afraid to seek help when you need it, and we all do from time to time in a variety of contexts.
A few practical, everyday examples include seeking clarification on a concept, assignment, or task from a teacher, coach, professor, or supervisor / manager; going to, and talking with, your doctor or dentist when something doesn't feel right; communicating with family and close friends when something's been bugging you and you'd like advice and counsel; asking for help with directions because you're lost; or getting ready to make a big purchase, like a car or home, and needing clarification and advice on a few matters before you feel comfortable and informed enough making that big purchase decision.
The key takeaway here is that you should never be afraid to seek help or clarification when you feel you need it. There are plenty of caring people, professionals, and other resources (credible online sources, books, etc.) at your disposal to help you understand options, decisions, assignments and tasks, your health, and so on. Self-advocacy - start practicing this valuable life skill today.