Student Advocacy Toolkit

This guide will help deaf students understand their rights, options for effective accommodations, and considerations for accessibility across different settings.

Students shared their experiences advocating for accommodations and more in this live panel in June 2021.

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What is Self-Advocacy?

This image has a green background. There are texts " Self Advocacy is the ability to articulate one's needs & make informed decisions about the support necessary to meet those needs. In between the text, there is an illustration of a woman with one of her hands pointing in the air. Below there are logos of Knowledge of rights, leadership skills, Knowledge of self & Communication skills.

Self-advocacy is the ability to articulate one’s needs and make informed decisions about the support necessary to meet those needs. Self-advocacy is an important skill to express what you need in school, the workplace and the community. Effective self-advocacy involves four important parts:

  • Knowledge of self
  • Knowledge of rights
  • Communication skills
  • Leadership skills

Strong self-advocacy skills help you get what you need and have control over your accommodations.

[Image description: A dark teal background with an illustrated lighter teal person standing in the middle, holding a fist up. At the top, a white speech bubble with teal letters: Self Advocacy. Around the person are stylized white text on a dark teal background: is the ability to articulate one’s needs & make informed decisions about the support necessary to meet those needs. At the bottom, a courtroom icon with text: Knowledge of rights. An icon of three heads: Leadership skills. An icon of a diamond: Knowledge of Self. An icon of speech bubbles: Communication skills.]

Take Control of Your Online Learning

Whether your classes are in-person or online, colleges and universities are required to make the learning environment accessible. Review the following tips for how to advocate for access in online learning: Higher education institutions are still required to make online spaces accessible for deaf students. Learn more to better advocate for access in online learning

be prepared for different situations

Be Prepared for Different Situations

Different situations may require some innovative strategies and trying different accommodations. Research what is coming next and work on a plan!

  • What if face masks are required?
  • I want to go into the medical field. What should I expect if I have an internship?
  • My service providers are “remote”. What does this mean?
  • Who provides the fire alarm in my dorm room?
  • I want to attend events on my campus. Can I request accommodations?
  • I’m enrolling in a foreign language course. How do I start a conversation with my teacher about my accommodations?



Check out our online learning library for free, online professional development.

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