Abilene Campus (Residential)
Date of Award
Primary School-Aged Children with Cerebral Palsy
Developing self-advocacy skills in individuals with disabilities promotes lifelong independence and disability awareness. Introducing and implementing opportunities to engage in self-advocacy at an early age allows children to understand their diagnosis, strengths, and needs. Early self-advocacy equips children to determine and request accommodations that may benefit them. Children with cerebral palsy often face challenges in communication, ambulation, and social participation, making the need for self-advocacy prominent in encouraging their success in the school setting. In implementing a tool built during school-based occupational therapy services, children with cerebral palsy learned to recognize and voice their academic and social needs while informing their educational support team of their stance on the services they receive. Though the drive to enhance student participation in IEP/ARD meetings is notable, the agenda is catered primarily to students preparing for post-secondary school transitions and life beyond the public-school system. With congenital conditions like cerebral palsy, the skills developed through self-advocacy training are used throughout the lifespan and warrant introduction much earlier in the child's education journey. This project prompted self-advocacy skill development in elementary and middle school-aged children through an All About Me booklet and amplified the importance of active student participation throughout their educational experiences. Weekly meetings with participants encouraged sectioned knowledge intake, allowing each child to process the information they learned about themselves. Disseminating their booklet and including the child in the ARD process was an influential way of incorporating the child's true perspectives into education planning agendas.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.