[Distance Learning] What to Do When...31 Engaging Activities for Self-advocacy

Grade Levels
9th - 12th, Homeschool
Formats Included
  • PDF
65 pages
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The What to Do When (WTDW)… 31 Engaging Activities for Self-Advocacy: Real Teens and Real Situations is a 65 page Social Emotional Learning (SEL) workbook. Although WTDW was written prior to the COVID-19 , this guide can be beneficial to the Emotional Health of youth facing this crises - to help youth see the good in themselves, recognize and accept their range of emotions (fear/anger to passion and enthusiasm), and most importantly to see the value in themselves and the contributions they can make.

The activities help students gain self-awareness and self-advocacy practice for employment, college readiness, and adaptation to daily life. This self-advocacy curriculum is written for all students ages 14 and over. WTDW is for anyone who wants to become their own best self-advocate, prepare for future employment success and to solve life's problems.

All 31 self-awareness practice activities are based upon real persons and real challenges in their lives which come from my work of 3 decades and research of 15 years. I have walked the walk. I have an adult son who has autism and has strived to live his own life, 13 years in employment and 18 years thus far as an accomplished abstract artist.

With each of the 31 activities, the student:

-discovers more about their own self-awareness and how to use self-awareness to solve a problem,
-reflects upon a challenge they can relate to, and the options to choose that result into a favorable outcome.

-receives a certificate for completing the What to Do When© program for self-awareness and self-advocacy.

A. Table of Contents

B. What to Do When© Meets the Common Core Standards                             

C. Student Objectives


A. Table of Contents

1. Interactions and Emotions

-building self-control.

-increasing self-awareness about emotions.
-creating healthier relationships and more positive experiences.

-increasing potential for on-the- job effectiveness.

2. Quiet Your Mind

-enhancing ease and developing increased self- awareness.
-increasing possibilities for self-control and positive experiences.

3. Be Aware of Anger

-self-awareness about when one gets angry.

-self-regulation and reducing anger.
-self-care how to choose a positive response for one’s own behalf.

-self-expression about how to choose to resolve your anger.

4. Self-advocacy and Anger

-self-expression about voicing needs.

-self-satisfaction in getting to a solution.

-self-advocacy to speak up for oneself or to have someone speak up for the youth.

-motivation to help someone understand the youth better.

5. Help Someone who Needs Assistance

-self-awareness about another person who is in need.

-empathy about recognizing how the other person may feel emotionally.

-self-expression about how youth can positively respond to someone in need.
-self-satisfaction about having joy in helping another person.

-positive experiences.

6. Do Your Part

-self-expression about voicing needs.

-self-satisfaction in getting to a solution.

-self-advocacy to speak up for oneself or have someone speak up for the youth.

-motivation to help someone understand the youth better.

7. Take Care of Yourself

-self-awareness to the youth about h-her needs.

-motivation making a choice to act on one’s own behalf.
-self-care-options to choose.

8. Your Strengths and Talents, Follow Your Heart

-self-expression-communicating through art-making.
-positive experiences - enjoyable and lead to self- growth or development.
-initiative - taking the steps toward a goal.
-inspiration- allowing inspiration to guide the youth in a direction.

9. Protect Yourself from Negative Influences

-self-expression to communicate feelings.

-creating positive experiences with trusted familiar persons.
-developing self-awareness about resolving a problem.

-initiative - taking steps on one’s own behalf.

-building bonds with another person who sees the best in the youth.

10. See the Good in Yourself

-self-expression- communicating with another about talents and strengths. choosing someone to trust.

-self-satisfaction - feeling emotions about one’s talent.
-positive experiences - seeing the goodness of one's experiences.

-healthy relationships - building collaboration with others.
-self-awareness and job effectiveness -recognizing the value of talent or strength to a job or to a team.

11. Let go of Unreasonable Fears

-self-awareness about real and unreal fears.

-self-regulation about the comfort of a checklist.

-self-expression in participating in one’s interest.

-self- satisfaction in managing community outings.

-positive experiences from the community outings.

-adaptability to enter the community (for youth with a greater need for supports).

12. Help Yourself Against a Bully

-self-awareness about options to protect oneself.
-initiative- in taking inventory of one’s strengths.

-self-satisfaction - finding a new interest to have positive experiences
-healthy relationships - Being around people with similar interests.

13. Say Yes to New Activities

-self-awareness about your situation and desire to change it.
-self-advocacy - reaching out to a counselor or a teacher, people you trust.
-self-expression -speaking up for your needs.

-happiness with positive experiences and developing healthy relationships.

14. Be your Own Best Self-Advocate

-self-awareness in realizing the effect of not disclosing a disability. (that is, not telling the college teacher or a boss at work that the youth has a disability and need supports).

-self-advocacy - recognizing the importance of explaining to another person the challenges of a disability. and accommodations you rely upon.

-job/college effectiveness in speaking up for oneself aso better outcomes or positive experiences may emerge.

15. Self-empowerment

-self-awareness of one’s challenges..

-self-awareness of the usefulness of a personal preference tool to help adaptation.

16. Be Aware of How you Feel

-self-awareness of one’s challenges..

-self-awareness of the usefulness of a personal preference tool to help adaptation.
-recognize self-satisfaction from adapting through a challenge and into success.

17. Be who You Are

-Getting help from a job coach to create on- the-job people supports.

-Self-satisfaction on the job.

-Self-awareness that you have on-the-job capabilities when using your strengths.

18. Find Yourself in Nature

-self-awareness about your emotions.

-self-satisfaction in spending time doing an outdoor activity or exercise.
-self-awareness about happiness and having a positive experience.

19. The Rude Dude

-self-awareness -about honoring one’s rights to be treated with respect and feel safe.

-self-regulation-about managing emotions.

-self-advocacy - about knowing when to speak up for yourself.
-self-awareness- the right to be in healthy relationships.

20. Perfumed Sally

-self-advocating, reach out to a trusting person for for advice.
-self-expression and sociable communication.
-self-regulation- changing one’s communication approach.

-taking Initiative & creating healthy relationships

21. The Loud Gossip

-self-awareness about how it feels like being around a gossiper.

-self-advocacy- about what steps to take to find a solution.

-self-expression- How to speak up for oneself or ask someone to speak up.
-job effectiveness - How to keep doing a job well.

22. What To Do About A Negative Emotional Memory

-self-awareness - about what happened was hurtful or harmful

-choosing harmful experience not to control life now or future life.

-looking forward to new good things in your life.

-self-expression- draw, paint, write, or tell someone about the past experience. It is good to express troubled emotions with a trusted person.

23. Name your Current and Future Goals

-self-awareness about what the youth wants in life.

-self-advocacy - taking the first step.

-self-expression - be who you are.
-positive experiences - asking for help to think of ways to experience now what you want tomorrow.

24. Managing Difficult Settings

-self-advocacy - working collaboratively for accommodations. Self-advocacy is having someone speak up for for youth when h-she cannot.
-self-awareness - what to expect in the difficult setting.

-self-control - With safe exposure and several experiences.

-positive experiences- from practice.

25. Making Appropriate Clothing Choices

-self-awareness - about weather conditions and the impact of choosing clothing.

-positive experiences

-self-advocacy -positive experiences

26. Managing Job Tasks with Self-awareness Checks

-Self-awareness- using self-awareness checks,

-Healthy relationships- with coworker and team support.

27. Workplace Stress and Bullies

-self-awareness-about rules in the workplace.

28. Reducing Stress, Increasing Ease

-self-awareness- about creating a new morning routine.

-self-expression -choice-making from options.

-positive experiences- carried over into his part time job.

29. Read to Learn How John Used a Self-Awareness Story

-self-awareness- how to write a SEA (social emotional awareness) story

-self-regulation- using Personal Preference tools to create ease.

-healthy relationships

30. Practice Recognizing Emotions

-self-expression - enjoy in choice-making and buying.

-using self-awareness checks about shopping and waiting.
-practicing self-regulation (waiting) in different settings.

31. Help for the Bully

-self-awareness, trusting a mentor.

-self-aware (seeing the best potential and possibilities).
-taking initiative to be proactive i to change mindset, dropping the act of bullying.

-focusing on one’s dreams.

B. What to Do When© Meets the Common Core Standards       

[CCRA/R/1/] Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text. http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/CCRA/R/1/

Student Objectives

1) The student will read independently or listen to someone read the activity out loud. 

2) The student will explain (in writing or to group discussion) the person’s situation (what is going on with the person) and specifically refer back to the text that revealed h-her interpretation.

3) Using Reflective Practice, the student will give examples to indicate h-her conclusions about a) giving examples of identifying with the reading passage solutions, or giving examples of disagreeing with the solutions given in the text.

4) Using Reflective Practice, the student will consider h-her options to resolve the person’s situation or problem (conclusions) that was stated in the text. The student will write their own list, or verbally express within a group setting their own solutions to the person’s problem.

5) Using Reflective Practice, the student will write an essay or explain what h-she learned. The student may use these questions as a guide:

a. What have I gotten out of doing this assignment? 

b. Have I discovered new skills I can develop?

c. Which skills will I choose to practice to improve my opportunities for on the job effectiveness and everyday well-being.

For students who have a greater need for supports:

After reading or listening to the passage:

f) The student will make a poster that reflects a solution to a problem. 

The student will draw diagrams, pictures, or find images from magazines or google that reflect their strengths and interests in increasing their self-awareness or self-advocacy for a solution to a problem. 

Youth are our nation's greatest resource. Know thyself, is an ancient Greek aphorism that significantly applies today to youth managing difficult life situations, developing social/emotional skills for on the job preparation. Young adults need skills to reflect upon their experiences and future career possibilities in order to evaluate what they need and the guide posts to get them where they want to go to their life’s work.


*Use this product in your home, classroom, or counselor/therapist office.

*Make as many copies as you need for your class or caseload use.

*Refer others who would like to use this resource to: Youth Opportunity Academy


*Share, copy or distribute this product to another teacher, counselor, classroom, educator, department, or school system.

*Post any of this product digitally for public view.

*Extract graphics or text for commercial use.

Thank you for respecting these boundaries.

My best,

Dr. Jackie Marquette

Youth Opportunity Academy


Author - writing about emotional literacy

relating to youth self-advocacy,

career development, and well-being

to adapt.

pendent Qualitative Researcher

Total Pages
65 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.


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