Author(s): Anthony K. Van Reusen, Candace S. Bos, Jean B. Schumaker, and Donald D. Deshler

Publication Info: Edge Enterprises, Revised 2007


The Self-Advocacy Strategy helps students prepare for and participate in education or transition planning conferences. Students learn to determine and list their perceived strengths, areas in which they need to improve or learn, education and transition goals, needed accommodations, and more. They then use steps of the strategy to share their lists during conferences, listen and respond to others, ask questions, and communicate their goals.

When students learned the Self-Advocacy Strategy, 86 percent of the goals they most valued were found in their IEPs. Students who had not learned the Self-Advocacy Strategy had only 13 percent of their desired goals in their IEPs.

Research: The Self Advocacy Strategy
Research: The Self Advocacy Strategy CD Instruction


  • Lancaster, P.E., Schumaker, J.B., & Deshler, D.D. (2002). The development and validation of an interactive hypermedia program for teaching a self-advocacy strategy to students with disabilities. Learning Disabilities Quarterly, 25, 227-302. This article describes a multimedia program designed to teach the Self-Advocacy Strategy to secondary students with disabilities. Research results showed the program was as effective as live instruction.
  • Oas, B.K., Schumaker, J.B., & Deshler, D.D. (1995). Learning strategies: Tools for learning to learn in middle and high schools. Secondary education and beyond: Providing opportunities for students with learning disabilities. Pittsburgh, PA: Learning Disabilities Association of America. This article uses student case descriptions to illustrate how a variety of learning strategies--including the Self-Advocacy Strategy, Sentence Writing Strategy, and Paraphrasing Strategy--might be implemented with students who experience an array of learning disabilities characteristics.
  • Van Reusen, A.K. (1998). Self-advocacy strategy instruction: Enhancing student motivation, self-determination, and responsibility in the learning process. In M.L. Wehmeyer & D.J. Sands (Eds.), Making It Happen: Student Involvement in Education Planning, Decision-Making, and Instruction (pp.133-152). Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brooks Publishing Co. This articles discusses the Self-Advocacy Strategy within the larger context of student motivation patterns.
  • Van Reusen, A.K., Deshler, D.D., & Schumaker, J.B. (1989). Effects of a student participation strategy in facilitating the involvement of adolescents with learning disabilities in the individualized educational program planning process. Learning Disabilities, 1(2), 23-34. This study investigated the effects of training adolescents with learning disabilities to use self-advocacy procedures during the Individualized Educational Program (IEP) conference.

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