Self-Determination and Student Involvement in the IEP

It’s Never too Early
to Start!
What happens when we
focus on disabilities…
…rather than abilities?
Words from students
“Throughout my schooling, I was often
written off by teachers as a class clown,
a smart alec, or just someone who
didn’t want to learn. I was called lazy,
and unmotivated, and for the longest
time I believed those labels, and thought
that I didn’t belong in school.”
Nathan Gulbransen
Words from students
“It was hard not knowing what I could
do, not knowing what I was good at. I
was never let in to any of the
discussion about anything that was
going on with me. In school, I always
heard ‘She has problems with this, she
can't do this, she doesn't know how to
do that.’ I never, ever heard anything
good about me.
Words from students (continued)
I could always only talk about my
weaknesses, never about my strengths,
because I never knew I had any. If
someone asked me about my strengths, I
wouldn't know. Growing up, I thought
that there must have been something
wrong that I did. I was too lazy or
stupid. It was me.”
Marta Cruz
New York
Quick Partner Share
Think about the 2 quotes & a student
you know, or your son/daughter
Briefly share: how have negative
labels affected the student you
Have you seen changes over the
years in IEP practices – how we talk
with and about our students?
…refers to both the right and the
capacity of individuals to exert
control over and direct their
(Wehmeyer, 2004)
What does self-determination
mean to students with disabilities?
 Knowing & believing in yourself.
 Knowing what you want your future to
be like and how to make plans to
achieve this future.
 Knowing the supports that you need to
take control of your life.
The Principles of
The Center for Self-Determination
Core Components
Combination of skills, knowledge & beliefs
Goal-setting & attainment
Internal locus of control
Positive attributes of
efficacy and outcomes
 Self-Observation
 Self-Evaluation
 SelfReinforcement
 Self-Instruction
 Self-Advocacy &
 Self-Awareness
 Self-Knowledge
Quick Activity
With a partner, choose one of these tasks:
 Obtain a driver’s license
 Have a job interview
 Find a place to live
Make a quick list – which of the
components (previous slide) might be
required to accomplish the task?
Did you know…?
One year after high school:
 Students with self-determination
skills twice as likely as those without
the skills to be employed
 Earned on average $2 more per hour
 Lived more independently
 Obtained better job benefits (sick
leave, health insurance, vacation)
(Wehmeyer and Schwartz, 1997; Wehmeyer and Palmer, 2003)
Name: Aiden
My Strengths
• I am a good listener
• I have learned a lot
of speech sounds
My Preferences
• Playing in centers
helps me learn
• Speech class helps
Date: 03/2011
My Interests
• I like playing my DS
• I like to play outside
• I like school
My Needs
• Help with speech
Name: Caroline
Address: 5923 Old Forge Rd
Rocky Mount Va
DOB: May 25
My Strengths
Good with people
Strong in Math
Good with working with
my hands.
House work & cooking
Farm work.
My Preferences
With hands on
Seeing it done
Hearing it helps
And doing it
My Interests
Working with people with
Fishing and hanging out
with Friends
My Needs
Test read aloud and
copies notes.
Spelling aides
And a calculator
The Virginia Department of
Self-Determination Project
Project Goals
Improve attendance rates, graduation
rates and have fewer discipline
referrals in school settings
Assist students in developing skills that
will allow them to direct their own lives
Increase disability and ability awareness
What schools are doing…
Student-led IEPs
Student-led conferences
Family events
Presentations by youth speakers
Mentoring programs
Children’s literature
What else is happening?
“Growing” youth leaders:
Self-Determination Youth Summits;
Building school sites: expansion from
original sites to schools across Virginia
Video clip
Teachers –
What Can YOU Do?
Teach core components to ALL students
Help your student understand their
disability label
Encourage students to attend and
participate in their IEP meetings
Incorporate self-determination as IEP
Examples: Self-determination
skills in annual goals
…Ashley will use PECS to indicate her
choice of activity…
…Brad will read his PLoP at IEP
…Keira will identify two activities to
assist her classroom focus…
…Jordan will research the role of the
campus Disability Resource Office…
Examples: Self-determination
language in the PLoP
…In an interview with her teacher, Maria
stated she has difficulty with word problems
and would like to have more time to complete
her work.
…I am interested in auto mechanics and would
like to take some classes at the TEC in 10th
…Beth communicates her preferences through
the use of PECS; she can tell us which treat
she would like after she completes her work.
Parents –
What Can YOU Do?
 Encourage your child to make choices
about everyday activities.
 Encourage your child to set priorities.
 Help your child identify their interests,
preferences and strengths.
 Educate yourself and your child about
Parents –
What Can YOU Do?
 Talk to your child about the process of
goal setting including barriers that might
be encountered.
 Help your child understand the concept
of accommodations and how they can help
or hinder educational and career goals.
 Talk to your child about their disability.
Get teacher(s) involved to the extent you
feel warranted.
Quick Share –
turn to your neighbor(s)
1. Something already going
well or o.k. to develop and
facilitate selfdetermination for
2. A cool idea you’re excited
about implementing
Final Words:
Self-Determination means…
That I will figure out a way to do anything
I want to do.
The ability to stand up for yourself and
not depend on others.
If you have confidence in yourself, you
can make it through the hardest times.
Final Words:
Self-Determination means…
I set goals for myself and strive to fulfill
those goals.
When someone tells you that you can’t do
something, you show them that you can.