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Possible Introduction and Definition of Self-Determination Self-determination is a concept that emerges in a variety of ways, in any number of fields. Self- determination has been defined most basically as free choice of one’s acts or states without external compulsion. It has been associated with autonomy, will and volition (Webster, 2011). The concept of self-determination has been further developed in the field of transition into not only a concept, but a model of practice. One such implementation includes the Self-Determined Model of Instruction which was, “designed to enable teachers to teach students to become self-regulated problem solvers, to self- direct instruction toward self-selected goals, and to gain enhanced self-determination (Agran, 2000).” The concept and implementation of self-determination strengthening programs with transitional students has been a topic of focus in research primarily due to the fact that research has emerged with evidence that enhanced self-determination can contribute to more positive outcomes (Wehmeyer, Agran, & Hughes, 1998; Wehmeyer & Metzler, 1995). Self-determination has not only been highlighted by practitioners as a focal point, but also by legislators and legislative policy including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004, the National Council on Disability, 2004 and the President’s Commission on Excellence in Special Education, 2002. According to Cater, et. all, 2006 enhancing self-determination can be a factor in seeing improvement in a number of different areas including improved student outcomes, academic performance, employment status, postsecondary participation, independence and quality of life. The continued success of individuals following school transition programs necessitate that the adolescent take a more prominent role in their lives and decisions. The mastering of this role will enhance understanding of individual strengths and needs, the ability to self-select goals and work towards them, and the ability to self-assess their progress and outcomes (Carter, et.all, 2006). All of these factors influence the necessity and importance in creating self-determination practices with transition students, furthering the chance for success in future programs and skill sets, as well as promoting growth in the individual.
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