A combination of skills, knowledge, and beliefs that enable a person to engage in goal-directed, self-regulated, autonomous behavior. Self-determination/Self-Advocacy has been operationally defined as “the ability to make choices, solve problems, set goals, evaluate options, take initiative to reach one’s goals, and accept consequences of one’s actions” (Rowe et al., 2013).
An understanding of one’s strengths and limitations together with a belief in oneself as capable and effective are essential to self-determination.
When acting on the basis of these skills and attitudes, individuals have greater ability to take control of their lives and assume the role of successful adults in our society (Field, Martin, Miller, Ward, and Wehmeyer, 1998). Findings have indicated that students with higher levels of self-determination achieve better post-school outcomes in the areas of education and employment (Halpern et al., 1995; Wehmeyer & Schwartz, 1997).
Approaches for Promoting Self Determination
Some of the most effective approaches for promoting self determination include:
- Use student-driven IEP and transition planning.
- Directly teaching skills or enhancing knowledge
- Embedding instruction into the general curriculum
- Use Person-Centered Planning