Teaching Self-Determination Skills to Students With Disabilities

National Secondary Transition
Technical Assistance Center
Self-Advocacy for
Young Adults
David W. Test
2011 RehabACTion and Transition Fall
Conference, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, October
26, 2011
Self-Determination Defined
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 in oneself as
capable and effective are essential to selfdetermination.
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, & Wehmeyer, 1998).
Components of SD
Choice Making: appropriately choosing between
a number of choices.
 Problem-Solving: weigh pros and cons of
potential actions to identify barriers to success.
 Decision Making: Involves choosing between
unlimited options
 Goal Setting and attainment: ability to set
appropriate goals for self and achieve the goals
with actions
Components of SD
Self-regulation: self-monitoring, self-evaluation,
self-management (controlling own behavior by
being aware of one’s actions and providing
 Self-awareness: awareness of own individuality,
strengths, and areas of improvement
 Self-efficacy: understanding that your own
actions have an impact- you are a causal agency
in your life.
* Self-advocacy: have knowledge of self,
knowledge of rights, communication skills, and
leadership ability
Knowledge of Rights
Sample sub-components include
Learning style
Support needs
Accommodation needs
Characteristics of one’s disability
Sample sub-components include
Personal rights
Community rights
Human service rights
Consumer rights
Educational rights
Steps to redress violations
Steps to advocate for change
Knowledge of resources
• Assertiveness
• Negotiation
• Articulation
• Body Language
Sample sub-components include
• Use of assistive technology
• Listening
• Persuasion
• Compromise
Sample sub-components include
• Knowledge of group’s rights
• Knowledge of resources
• Advocating for others or for causes
• Organizational participation
• Political action
• Team dynamics and roles
Why the emphasis on SD?
Individuals who score higher on measures of SD
have more positive adult outcomes (e.g., better
employment, better living situations)
Research is emerging regarding the relationship
between SD and positive school
experiences (e.g., higher grades,
attendance, fewer behavior
Two General
Approaches to Promoting SD
1. Using the student-driven IEP and/or transition
planning process
2. Integrating SD concepts and skills into the general
Skills Taught through Involvement in IEP
 Describing one’s disability, strengths, needs, present
level of performance
 Communicating one’s interests and preferences
 Engaging in goal setting and goal attainment
 Participating in discussions regarding school & postschool plans and needs
 Choosing & negotiating one’s accommodation needs
 Accepting responsibility for where improvement is
 Evaluating one’s progress
1. Student-driven IEP and
transition planning
Four Stages:
(a) Planning
 (b) Drafting
 (c) Meeting
 (d) Implementing
A. Planning
Preparing parents
◦ Identification of strengths, needs, interests, goals
◦ Disability awareness (it’s very empowering for
individuals to know what “it” is)
◦ Provide community-based experiences (vocational,
residential, leisure/recreation, educational) – give
students context for choices and decisions
A. Planning
•Educational rights
•Student understands the IEP process
and format
•Meeting preparation – who, what,
and etc.
•Teaching students to plan
•Reflecting on themselves
•Gathering input from other teachers
•Learning about goals (the concept)
•Relating goals (future) to school (now)
B. Drafting the Plan (Meeting Preparation)
Teach students to develop Power Point slides
(Allowing them to write in first person
makes it their plan)
◦ Self-advocacy, self-efficacy, self regulation, & selfawareness
◦ Students read and understand a variety of materials
◦ Students write and speak for a variety of purposes
and audiences
B. Drafting the Plan (Meeting Preparation)
Use a workable IEP template
Research skills, writing for a variety of
purposes, sentence writing
Write in first-person
The IEP Template in Practice
(Konrad & Test, 2004)
7th grade students with learning disabilities
or mild mental retardation showed
improvement in their abilities to complete
the IEP Template
 IEP awareness instruction (What is an IEP and
why do I have one?)
 Career exploration using on-line career
interest inventories and the on-line
Occupational Outlook Handbook
The IEP Template in Practice
(Konrad & Test, 2004)
Students interview parents and teachers
 Direct instruction and modeling of how to
complete the Template
 Template includes a vision statement;
present level of performance; goals and
objectives; measurement criteria and
procedures; and services and
C. IEP Meeting to Revise the Draft
Possible student roles: student makes
introductions, student presents some content,
student leads the meeting
 Consider using assistive technology or Webbased 2.0 tools to enhance meeting and
Examples of E-Sharing
PowerPoint Presentations
Flip Camera Presentations
Using a “toondoo” to express
accommodations needed for a student
Using a “wordle” to express a student’s
Using “goanimate” to express student’s
needs by having a talking cartoon.
C. IEP Meeting to Revise the Draft
Teaching meeting preparation:
Invite participants
Set and share goals, monitor achievement
Discuss preferences and interests
Discuss accommodations
Introduce meeting and participants
Lead or participate in meeting
Use published curricula (role play, direct instruction)
C. IEP Meeting to Revise the Draft
Published curricula for IEP process
participation are available
ChoiceMaker: Self-Directed IEP
NEXT Steps
Whose Future is it Anyway?
The Self-Advocacy Strategy
ChoiceMaker: Self-Directed IEP
Students with mild to moderate disabilities
Grades six through adult
Designed to teach students self-determination skills to
be successful in adult life
Includes 3 Strands:
◦ Choosing Goals
◦ Expressing Goals
◦ Taking Action
Addresses 4 transition areas:
◦ Education/training
◦ Employment
◦ Independent Living
◦ Recreation and Leisure
Choicemaker, continued
For more information:
Publisher: Sopris West www.sopriswest.com
$396.49 – can purchase in components $124.95
ChoiceMaker Curriculum & Lessons
Choosing Goals
a. Student interests
b. Student skills and
c. Student goals
Choosing education goals
Choosing employment goals
Choosing personal goals
Choosing daily living, housing,
and community goals
Expressing Goals
a. Student leading
b. Student reporting
Self-directed IEP
Taking Action
Take Action
Student plan
Student action
Student evaluation
Student adjustment
Next S.T.E.P.
(Student Transition & Educational Planning)
All levels of disability
Ages 14 through 21
Helps students learn how to take charge of their own
transition planning process
Helps students assume responsibility for important life
decisions with support from teachers and parents
16 lessons with fully developed lesson plans
Next S.T.E.P. , continued
(Student Transition & Educational Planning)
Unit 1: Getting to Know Myself
Unit 2: Self-Evaluation
Unit 3: Setting and Achieving Goals
Unit 4: Sharing Your Goals and Accomplishments
For further information:
Available through ProEd
Whose Future Is It Anyway?
A Student-Directed Transition Planning
Purpose: Prepare students for their IEP meetings and
gain self-determination skills
Population: students with mild to moderate cognitive
Coach's Guide
 outlines lessons
 how to teach lessons
 the roles of the students and teachers
 expected outcomes
Whose Future Is It Anyway?, continued
Section 1: Getting to know you
Section 2: Making Decisions
Section 3: How to Get What You Need
Section 4: Goals, Objectives and the Future
Section 5: Communicating
Section 6: Thank You, Honorable Chairperson
For Further Information:
Free…did you hear that??? FREE!!!!
The Self-Advocacy Strategy
Purpose: to enable students to systematically gain a
sense of control and influence over their own learning
and development. Motivation strategy designed to
increase the student’s involvement in key decisionmaking and planning processes
Population: all disabilities, age 14-21
Materials: scripted lessons and CD-Rom
The Self-Advocacy Strategy Mnemonics
Sit up Straight
Have a pleasant Voice
Activate Thinking
Eye Communication
Provide Inventory
Listen and Respond
Activate Thinking
Name your Goals
C. IEP Meeting to Revise the Draft
Facilitating students’ participation
◦ Directing questions to student
◦ Addressing student in second person, - avoid using 3rd
◦ Avoiding jargon
◦ Using language and vocabulary familiar
to/understandable by the student
◦ Allow student to bring a peer/sibling
C. IEP Meeting to Revise the Draft
Measure student progress
◦ Direct observation of student involvement (e.g., # of
◦ Checklist of behaviors (e.g., Stated purpose of meeting,
Introduced self, Introduced others, Contributed
PLAAFP, Contributed Goal(s), Responded to questions,
◦ Listen to what people had to say about it (e.g., Surveys
of student and other participants)
D. Implementing the Plan
Just Do It!
But don’t stop with the meeting.
Continue to involve students in goal
attainment, problem-solving, self-regulation,
and self-efficacy
D. Implementing the Plan
Teaching plan implementation
◦ Let the IEP be a working document in your classroom
(consider confidentiality)
◦ Teach students to self-evaluate performance on meeting
lesson objectives
◦ Teach students to self-evaluate completion of assignments
◦ Teach students to be responsible for checking off
assignments to complete as steps toward meeting an IEP
◦ Teach students to graph their performance on assignments
◦ These skills can be taught/ used with all students
2. Integrating SD concepts/skills into the
general curriculum
•Integrate SD into English/Language Arts
•Literature Circles
•Self-Realization Writing Portfolios
•Use cross-curricular strategies
•Self-Determined Learning Model of Instruction
•Self-regulation and/or contracting
English/Language Arts (ELA)
logical subject area to align with selfdetermination
◦ Reading and writing are appropriate skills to develop
across all subject areas
◦ Focus on communication skills, many of which
overlap with self-determination skills
◦ Broad curriculum standards that accommodate
flexibility in what and how to teach
 Emerging
evidence base to support aligning
self-determination in English/language arts
Literature Circles
Blum, Lipsett, & Yocom (2002)
8th and 9th grade students with disabilities
showed improvement in their perceptions of
their reading skills and were able to contribute
to discussions in their literature circles
 Self-determination components addressed:
problem-solving and decision-making
 ELA skills addressed: reading comprehension,
oral communication
Konrad, Trela, & Test (2004)
High-school students with cognitive and physical
disabilities showed improvement in their abilities
write IEP goal paragraphs and other types of
expository paragraphs
 Self-determination components addressed: goalsetting, self-awareness, and self-regulation
 ELA skills addressed: writing for a variety of
purposes, paragraph writing
GO 4 IT…NOW! in Practice
Uses a mnemonic device to help students write
6-sentence goal paragraphs
 Can be applied to other types of paragraph
A Strategy to Teach Students to
Write Paragraphs about Their IEP Goals
4 (4 objectives)
Name your topic.
Order your steps.
Wrap it up and
restate topic.
Date 2/13/2004 (pre-intervention)
Maltply and divide fractions. I will try not to
make many mistakes. I try do them correotly.
5/7/04 (post-intervention)
I will plan a trip in the commutiyi by myself.
First, I will pick a place to go out. Second, I will
get directions on a map. Third, I will call up for
a bus. Fourth, I wil count money to take the
bus. This is how I will plan a trip in the
commuty by myself by the end of the school
Self-Realization Writing Porfolios
Eisenman & Tascione (2002)
High-school juniors and seniors with learning
disabilities or hearing impairments showed
improvements in self-awareness
 Self-determination components addressed: selfawareness, self-regulation, self-advocacy
 ELA skills addressed: writing for a variety of
purposes, essay writing, reading comprehension,
and research skills
Self-Realization Writing Portfolios in Practice
Each student maintains a writing portfolio
Writing topics related to disability or special
◦ Argument essay about whether students with
disabilities should have to pass the state exam
◦ Brochure persuading students with disabilities to
become self-advocates
◦ Self-assessment describing new learning related to
special education needs and how new skills will be
applied in the future
◦ Personal essay about experiences of living with a
◦ Proposal outlining steps for transitioning from one
grade to another
The Self-Determined Learning Model of
Phase 1: Set a Goal
Phase 2: Take Action
Phase 3: Adjust Goal or Plan
Mithaug, D. E., Wehmeyer, M. L., Agran, M., Martin, J. E., & Palmer, S. (1998). The self-determined learning model of
instruction: Engaging students to solve their learning problems. In M. L. Wehmeyer and D. J. Sands (Eds.), Making
it Happen: Student Involvement in Education Planning, Decision Making, and Instruction (pp. 299-328).
Baltimore: Brookes.
Phase 1: Set a Goal
Problem for Student to Solve: What is My Goal?
Educational Supports: Student self-assessment of interests,
abilities, and instructional needs; awareness training;
choice-making instruction; problem-solving instruction;
decision-making instruction; goal-setting instruction
◦ Student Question 1: What do I want to learn?
◦ Student Question 2: What do I know about it now?
◦ Student Question 3: What must change for me to learn
what I don’t know?
◦ Student Question 4: What can I do to make this
Phase 2: Take Action
Problem for Student to Solve: What is My Plan?
◦ Student Question 5: What can I do to learn what I
don’t know?
◦ Student Question 6: What could keep me from taking
◦ Student Question 7: What can I do to remove these
◦ Student Question 8: When will I take action?
Educational Supports: Self-scheduling, self-instruction, antecedent cue
regulation, choice-making instruction, goal-attainment strategies, problemsolving instruction, decision-making instruction, self-advocacy instruction,
assertiveness training, communication skills training, self-monitoring
Phase 3: Adjust Goal or Plan
Problem for Student to Solve: What Have I
◦ Student Question 9: What actions have I taken?
◦ Student Question 10: What barriers have been removed?
◦ Student Question 11: What has changed about what I don’t
◦ Student Question 12: Do I know what I want to know?
Educational Supports: Self-evaluation strategies, choice-making
instruction, problem-solving instruction, decision-making
instruction, goal-setting instruction, self-reinforcement strategies,
self-monitoring strategies, self-recording strategies
Goal Setting/Self-Regulation: Student Support
(Wehmeyer, Yeager, Bolding, Agran, & Hughes, 2003)
Student and teacher select goal(s)
 Design and teach student self-regulation
Antecedent cues
Self-Determination Contracts for Academic
(Martin, Mithaug, Cox, Peterson, Van Dycke, & Cash, 2003)
Teach students to fill out a daily SD
Evidence-based Practices
Evidenced-Based Practices by Skill
Student Knowledge of Transition Planning
•Using Who’s Future Is It Anyway?
Student Participation in IEP Meeting
•Using Check and Connect
•Using Computer Assisted Instruction
•Using the Self-Advocacy Strategy
•Using the Self-Directed IEP
•Using Published Curricula
Self Determination
•Using Who’s Future Is It Anyway??
Goal Attainment
•Using Self Determined Learning Model of Instruction
Research-to-Practice Lesson Plan Starters
Lesson Plan Starters on IEP Meeting
IEP Meeting Participation Using Self-Directed IEP
Lesson Plans 1 & 8
IEP Meeting Involvement Using Person-Centered
Planning Lesson Plans 2, 27, & 35
 Transition Planning Involvement Using Take
Charge for the Future Lesson Plans 3, 29, & 33
 IEP Meeting Participation Using Self-Advocacy
Strategy Lesson Plans 4, 7, 37, & 41
Lesson Plan Starters on the Self-Advocacy
Strategy & Self-Directed IEP
IEP Meeting Participation Using Self-Advocacy
Strategy Lesson Plan 6
 IEP Meeting Participation Using Self-Advocacy
Strategy Lesson Plans 4, 7, 37, & 41
 IEP Meeting Participation Using Self-Directed
IEP Lesson Plans 1 & 8
Self-Determination Assessments
Purpose: To provide information about
readiness to make decisions related to future
ambitions and help students in identifying
relative strengths and limitations related to selfdetermination
◦ The Arc’s Self-Determination Scale
◦ Self-Determination Assessment Battery
◦ Choice-Maker Self-Determination Assessment
Great Resource for SD Assessments
Zarrow Center for Enrichment and Learning
Why is teaching self-determination skills
worth the effort?
Welcome to my IEP meeting.
Today we are going to talk about
my plans for the future.
Contact Us
David W. Test, [email protected]
704-687-2916 (fax)

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