Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Self Determination

This topic is brand new to me, but it has been a popular one for the last few years, I am told. It is very important to middle and high school students with disabilities, and it is one my son will soon become familiar with -- as soon as I can fully explain it! Here it is explained somewhat by a person with a disability:

"What people need to realize is that self-determination can be different things to different people. All people should have the opportunity to be self-determining, based on what that means for them. They might need some guidance, they might need some help, but that doesn't mean they ought to be shut out of opportunities to have their life. Everybody needs some support at one time or another, I don't care who you are. What's important is to focus on what you can do, what you are good at and like to do. When you are getting supported, you have to take the initiative to tell other people what you want, what you need, and the supports you will need to live the way you want."
(I found this quote here.)

A more in-depth description is this:

"The concept of self-determination has become important in the field of special education and disability services over recent years. This emphasis has come about as a result of several factors, including a changing view of disability, legislation, research findings and advances in teaching technology. Self-determination is highly important to the career development and transition process and it needs to be encouraged throughout the lifespan. It is important for all students, with and without disabilities, including those students with the most severe disabilities. Self-determination instruction can be provided within an inclusive framework and is important for educators as well as students. Family participation is important to the development of self-determination. The Division on Career Development and Transition of the Council for Exceptional Children supports and affirms approaches rooted in self-determination for development and delivery of effective educational programs."

(I found that one here.)

It looks like we need to help our older kids with special needs figure out a plan for what they want in life and how to get there. There are some assessments that they can be given at home or school that will definitely be eye-openers for them and for us. Check our this website for all kinds of opportunities for assessment regarding goals and plans.

If you are familiar with Self-Determination, please do tell! There is always something new to learn.

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