How to advocate for YOURSELF and your LEARNING DISABILITY (In high school and university)
Updated: Jul 15
Claire - 00:02
Hey guys, what's up, It's Claire! Welcome back to another video.
Today, I'm doing something different because, well, I felt like it and I kind of had that creative itch to do something and I thought about a problem I faced in my life and kind of how I solved it.
And yeah, so that's the inspiration for this video.
Advocate for yourself if you have a learning disability or even a mental health condition, this kind of works with both. So let's just get right into it.
Claire - 00:30
So the first thing that you need to do is understand your learning disabilities definition and where you fall in and outside of it.
So what this means is basically what your learning disability means, and then where you see yourself or where it affects you most in your own life.
So for example, I have ADHD, this is not a learning disability, I'm just using it as an example, but I do have ADHD and I really struggle with time management, so I know that piece of ADHD is something that affects me a lot more than maybe, let's say, the hyperactivity component of ADHD does.
Basically find the definition of your learning disability, read up on it, understand where it affects different people, and then kind of define yourself in that.
By doing that, you'll be able to understand yourself more and also understand how other people might see you. So, for example, this is your teachers or your supporters, if they're searching up the learning disability, what are they going to find what ideas are they going to get in their head about you.
Then, basically by being able to find where you fall into it, you'll be able to kind of advocate for those specific pieces and also communicate to your teachers that, hey, I don't really have this symptom of that disability in particular, because just like any disease you know you're not going to have every single symptom.
It's just going to be the ones that affect you, everything's very personal, especially with learning disabilities.
The second tip is creating a Cheat Sheet for you and your teachers. Now this one is something that I figured out a bit late in my high school career, but I found it was really, really helpful for maybe getting through to those teachers who don't particularly individualize things for people.
And that's completely understandable, they're busy teachers.
Claire - 02:27
Having this Cheat Sheet that to give to teachers preemptively before anything happens can make the world of difference.
So for example, what is this Cheat Sheet going to have on it? This CHEAT SHEET is going to state your disability. It's going to say where you fall into it. So using step one and putting it on there says where you are going to fall into it.
Claire - 02:47
Say the accommodations that you are entitled to based on your diagnosis and also anything else that you might struggle with or things that you're proud of even. It's kind of like you get to know me. Get to know who I am and where I struggle. I'll put a link down below to an example of one that I made just so that maybe you can use it as a template as well in the future.
Now the third tip that I have for you is to communicate. At the beginning of the semester, it’s a really good idea if you reach out to your teachers before any classes happen with this CHEAT SHEET, perhaps, or just with a cold email.
Explaining introducing yourself, and you're learning disability and how it might affect you in that specific class.
Claire - 03:41
So for me, I know that math is a really difficult thing for me. So what I would do is I would email my math teacher and be like hey, I have a nonverbal learning disability, it really affects my processing for numbers. So if I had some opportunity to demonstrate my skills verbally as opposed to on paper, that would be something that would really help me process information.
So something like that, if it is specific but basically let yourself be known to both your teachers and your guidance counselors.
So another thing that really helped me in school was getting in touch with the guidance department regularly and advocating for my disability within that as well.
Claire - 04:25
If you have a good guidance teacher, they'll know, kind of like what classes you are in, and they'll know more about your disability than probably your teacher.
But sometimes they don't, and so that's where you're going to have to be really clear and communicate with the email introducing yourself and the CHEAT SHEET as well.
So yeah, I hope that these tips will help you in the future, advocate for yourself with your learning disability.
You got this! I know that sometimes accommodation can be scary to ask for after diagnosis.
Claire - 04:57
So yeah, I hope this was really helpful for you. Good luck with your studies and take care. Bye!