Self-determination synthesis project

SDSP: Self-Determination Synthesis Project * SDSP: Sons & Daughters Shall Prophesy *
Photo provided by Flickr

Teaching Self-Determination Skills to Students With

The capabilities needed to become self-determined are most effectively learned through real-world experience, which inherently involves taking risks, making mistakes, and reflecting on outcomes. These experiences help a young person test his or her strengths and limitations and identify appropriate short- and long-term goals. In addition to real-world experience, youth benefit from open, supportive acknowledgement and discussion of their disability. Too often families, teachers, and other well-intentioned people protect youth with disabilities from making mistakes and avoid discussing the details and potential ramifications of the youth’s disability. Instead, they focus on the positive and steer the youth away from many experiences where there is a potential for failure. However, in order to direct their own futures, youth need to know themselves and understand how their disability might affect academic learning, relationships, employment, participation in their communities, and need for supports With this knowledge, they are better positioned to develop plans, make decisions, and learn from experience. There can be a fine line, however, between experiencing the real world and losing one’s sense of personal empowerment. As Wehmeyer and Kelchner (1996) note:

Wehmeyer, M. L. (1992). Self-determination and the education of students with mental retardation. , 27, 302-314.
Photo provided by Flickr

by the Self- Determination Synthesis Project ..

Nearly one year after graduation, findings showed that students whose scores in high school indicated a higher level of self-determination were more likely to have experienced a greater number of positive adult outcomes, including a higher likelihood of being employed and earning more per hour than those who were not self-determined (Wehmeyer & Schwartz, 1997, p. 245). The study showed a “consistent trend characterized by self-determined youth doing better than their peers one year out of school. Members of the high self-determination group were more likely to have expressed a preference to live outside the family home, have a savings or checking account, and be employed for pay” (Wehmeyer & Schwartz, 1997, p. 253).

Agran, M. (Ed.). (1997). Student-directed learning: Teaching self-determination skills. Thousand Oaks, CA: Brookes/Cole.
Photo provided by Flickr

Parents, educators, and researchers agree on the need to promote self-determination, self-advocacy, and student-centered planning. Self-determination, the combination of skills, knowledge, and beliefs that enable a person to engage in goal-directed, self-regulated, autonomous behavior, has become an important part of special education and related services provided to individuals with disabilities (Abery & Stancliffe, 1996). Self-determination skills include self-advocacy, social skills, organizational skills, community and peer connection, communication, conflict resolution, career skill building, and career development and computer/technological competency (Martin & Marshall, 1996; Wehmeyer, Kelchner, & Richards, 1996). Research has found that helping students acquire and exercise self-determination skills is a strategy that leads to more positive educational outcomes. For example, Wehmeyer and Schwartz (1997) found that one year after graduation, students with learning disabilities who received self-determination training were more likely to achieve positive adult outcomes, including being employed at a higher rate and earning more per hour, when compared to peers who had not received the training. Youth development programs foster self-determination by increasing participants’ capacity for independent thinking, self-advocacy, and development of internal standards and values. (Catalano, Berglund, Ryan, Lonczak, & Hawkins, 2002).

Wood, W., & Test, D. W. (2001). Final performance report, Self-Determination Synthesis Project. Retrieved May 25, 2005, from
Photo provided by Flickr

Looking for the definition of SDSP

Sands, D. J., & Wehmeyer, M. L. (Eds.). (1996). Self-determination across the life span: Independence and choice for people with disabilities. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes.

Promoting Student Self-Determination ..

Martin, J. E., & Marshall, L. H. (1996). Infusing self-determination instruction into the IEP and transition process. In D. J. Sands & M. L. Wehmeyer (Eds.), Self-determination across the life span: Independence and choice for people with disabilities (pp. 215-236). Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes.

Documents Similar To selfdeterminationarticle

Izzo, M., & Lamb, M. (2002). Self-determination and career development: Skills for successful transitions to postsecondary education and employment. Unpublished.

02/06/2009 · Promoting self-determination ..

Self-determination is a concept reflecting the belief that all individuals have the right to direct their own lives. Students who have self-determination skills are more likely to be successful in making the transition to adulthood, including employment and community independence (Wehmeyer & Schwartz, 1997). Starting with the 1990 IDEA legislation, transition services must be based on students’ needs and take into account students’ interests and preferences. To accomplish this goal, students must be prepared to participate in planning for their future. IDEA ‘97 also supported students’ participation in planning for their future by requiring that all special education students age 14 and older be invited to their IEP meetings when transition goals are to be discussed. OSEP has played a major role in advancing a wide range of self-determination strategies through sponsored research and demonstration projects.

Putting Self-Determination into Practice

OSEP Expert Strategy Panel on Secondary Education, Transition and Employment. The Secondary Education, Transition and Employment panel was one of five panels convened by OSEP in 2000 to assist in the development of a long-range plan for the IDEA, Part D, Discretionary Grants Program. The panel identified five primary issues as critical to the improvement of secondary education and transition services for students with disabilities. These included: self-determination and self-advocacy, participation in a rigorous and relevant education curriculum, enhancement of service coordination and collaboration, improved accountability for results and postsecondary outcomes, and engagement of practitioners in rigorous professional development programs. The panel was also charged with the responsibility of identifying critical gaps needing to be bridged to achieve improved results for youth with disabilities.