Your child’s path towards self-determination

acd resource rock solid 029

Part of the journey of secondary school is helping your child learn make choices for themselves, and find their own path in life.

Support your child’s voice

When children are little, their parents or carers make most decisions for them, including about school. Although it’s important to listen to children of any age, as Aunty Faye says – especially if they’re having a hard time.

Your child might need help to communicate their ideas or feelings. They might learn Auslan or simpler signs. They might use a communication aid or device. Even children who can’t do those things can still get a message across.

As children grow up, they often want more of a say in things that affect them.

Let them set their own goals

As your child grows up, you can get them more involved in planning their education journey. They could come along to their Student Support Group meetings. Or you can talk to them about the goals they want to achieve, and the help they will need to get there.

As Suzanna says, if a child or young person can set their own goals, they feel more motivated to work on them.

Follow their passions

There are many different ways of learning. Sometimes, one way of learning might not work for your child, and another way might work better. Many children can learn well through doing an activity they enjoy, or learning about a subject they are very interested in.

For Suzanna and Rodney’s son, this was always playing music. Music helped teach their son to speak, to get along with others, and even to do maths.

Rodney and Suzanna’s son is in year 10. This is what he says about his goals in life, and for the next year or two:

Support their self-determination

By involving your child in choices about their education journey, you help them learn the skills for self-determination. It’s about helping your child work out where they want to go, and to speak up about what they need to travel that path. And as Suzanna says, praise them, even if they don’t succeed, and help them learn to keep at it.