Self determination is described as:
"a combination of skills, knowledge, and beliefs that enable a person to engage in goal-directed, self-regulated, autonomous behavior. An understanding of one's strengths and limitations, together with a belief of 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" (p. 2).
Field, S., Martin, J., Miller, R., Ward, M., & Wehmeyer, M. (1998). A practical guide for teaching self-determination. Reston, VA: Council for Exceptional Children.
All youth need help in the area of self-determination. However, students with disabilities, including those with ASD, often require specific instruction and support to develop and internalize the skills and knowledge associated with self-determination. The following resources may assist parents and teachers help youth develop necessary skills and behaviors.
The University of Kansas Transition Coalition offers a free online module on self-determination. The purpose of this module is to provide general knowledge about self-determination, including information to guide students in developing skills for self-determination.
This manual, by the Connecticut Transition Task Force, is a guide for transition-age youth with disabilities to better understand and prepare for the decisions and experiences they will encounter as adults.
The Self-Determination Synthesis Project reviewed references for data-based research studies in which students or adults were taught a self-determination skills. A complete list of all curricula is available as a printable download.
This site, created by the California Department of Developmental Services, offers free guides and videos designed to help people with developmental disabilities to access self-determined lives. Thee guides use a Think-Plan-Do model to help the person (a) Think about what he or she wants, (b) Create a plan to get there, and (c) Take action to be successful.
This document was created by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction for use with transition-age students. The purpose of the training is to help the student learn to organize resources and to create and take responsibility for setting and reaching personal goals. The program is designed as an eight-week sequence that requires a team. The booklet is available as a free download by clicking on Self-Determination Handbook With Forms.
This manual, developed by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, offers information about transition to adult environments as well as activities that help students to set and make plans to achieve post-school goals. Content will have to be adapted for students with low-level literacy skills. The document is available as a free download by clicking on Opening Doors to Self-Determination: Planning for Life After High School.
This guide, published by the Council for Exceptional Children, is designed to help individual teachers as they plan for and implement student-led Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for students with disabilities. It presents activities for helping secondary students develop and participate in their IEPs.
Virginia Career VIEW (Vital Information for Education and Work)
This site offers activities, information, and resources for students as well as teachers and parents. Many of the activities encourage students to explore their own strengths and challenges as they make career plans for the future. Virginia Career VIEW is the state of Virginia’s Career Information Delivery System for all Virginians, grades K- adults. Virginia Career VIEW is supported by state and federal funds from the Virginia Department of Education, Office of Career and Technical Education.
This site is the home of the Virginia Department of Education’s Self-Determination Project. The webpage on Student Involvement in the IEP offers several types of information, including lesson plans, teaching tools, and other materials that will assist the teachers in instructing students about the concepts related to self-determination.
A self-determined person needs accurate information to make decisions regarding relationship and sexuality. Below are two websites that offer information, downloadable tools, and resources to help teach students with both physical and intellectual disabilities about puberty and sexuality.
Self-Determination Guidebooks by Center for Self-Determination
Two guidebooks are available as free downloads from the Self-Determination website: (a) Real Life Quality Standards: Person-centered Directed Planning (b) Creative Individual Budgeting: Individual Allocations and Personal Budgets