This is Me: A Self-Advocacy Tool

This is Me: A Self-Advocacy Tool is a customized, electronic tool developed by a student with their teacher, speech language pathologist, and/or educational team. The tool uses a story creation application that is easy to program and contains information about the student’s strengths, interests, and preferences, as well as strategies and supports the student uses in the areas of communication, self-advocacy, executive function, and behavior. Each page of the story has a picture or video illustrating the strategy. This is Me stories are designed to be developed and shared by students with intellectual disabilities (ID) and autism spectrum disabilities (ASD) who also experience expressive, receptive, and/or pragmatic communication difficulties.   


Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. How does This is Me fill a gap within the field?
  2. Why is teaching self-advocacy to students with disabilities so important?
  3. Why did we develop this tool?
  4. Is there any evidence that This is Me works?
  5. What are our plans for further developing and testing of This is Me?
  6. How can I learn more about This is Me?
  7. How can I create a This is Me story?
  8. What are other people saying about This is Me?

How does This is Me fill a gap within the field?

Important information about students’ support strategies is often lost during transitions (e.g., transitions to a new classroom or school building, or from school to work). This is Me offers an innovative, individualized, portable electronic solution that ensures critical information about how to support students’ communication is transmitted, while decreasing the demands on expressive language to share this information. A This Is Me story can be shared with a wide range of communication partners that includes, but is not limited to, new teachers/classroom staff, related service providers, job coaches, supervisors, and other important adults in students’ lives.

Why is teaching self-advocacy to students with disabilities so important?

Research consistently shows that academic, social, and vocational outcomes for students with ID and ASD are superior for students with greater self-advocacy skills. For example, studies suggest that self-determination is one of the key indicators of post-school success. This is Me puts students in the driver’s seat when it comes to advocating for their own support needs. Instead of the job coach or 1:1 showing new adults in students’ lives how to provide appropriate supports, This is Me allows students to share this information independently using their customized This is Me story.

Why did we develop this tool?
This tool was developed by a speech-language pathologist at The Ivymount School. The tool was developed for students in the school-to-work post high school program for students with intellectual disabilities and/or Autism Spectrum Disorder and concomitant moderate-severe receptive, expressive, and pragmatic language deficits. The post high school program is designed to prepare students ages 18-21 for a successful transition from school to adult life by building vocational, social, community and recreational skills that lead to a balanced work-life experience after graduation. Each student in the program has instruction in the classroom and community environments as well as externship experiences at various job sites. As speech-language pathologists in the program, the priority is to teach students various communication skills to support self-advocacy, self-determination, and independence. 

Is there any evidence that This is Me works?

Yes! A recently published study indicates a positive relationship between viewing students’ This is Me stories and improved knowledge on the part of job coaches and employers regarding students’ support strategies. Employers also reported adopting more effective communication strategies as a result of viewing students’ stories.  

What are our plans for further developing and testing of This is Me?

We recently developed a “how to” guide for creating This is Me stories. We are currently working on conducting a more rigorous follow-up study of the impact of This is Me stories on students and their novel communication partners. In addition, we are seeking funders and/or investors to help us develop a This is Me app.  We are also seeking university partners for additional research into the impact of This is Me.

How can I learn more about This is Me?

Click here if you would like to dowload/access the how-to guide. For more information on how you can use This is Me to support your students' self-advocacy, or to schedule a training or consultation, contact Ivymount Outreach at [email protected]

How can I create a This is Me story?

We have created a how-to guide for creating This is Me stories. To download/access the how-to guide click here.

hat are other people saying about This is Me?

speech bubbles


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