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Self-Determination Moving Forward

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					      The Origins of Self-
 Determination: How Far We’ve
 Come, But There’s Still A Ways
             to Go

Michael J. Ward, Ph. D.
The George Washington
     University
    Overview
   Self-determination in special education
   Self-determination issues we have not
    adequately addressed
   Suggestions to increase self-
    determination
   Systems shift
    The OSERS
    Self-Determination Initiative
   Focused on system-wide activities
   Promoted service systems to include
    consumers in decision-making.
   Develop a cadre of future leaders.
   Supported 26 model demonstration
    projects to identify and teach skills
    necessary for self-determination.
    Self-Determination Defined - 1

Ward (1988)
   “The attitudes which lead people to
    define goals for themselves and the
    ability to take the initiative to
    achieve those goals.”
    Self-Determination Defined - 2
Wehmeyer (1992)
   “The attitudes and abilities required to
    act as the primary causal agent in one's
    life and to make choices regarding one's
    actions free from undue external
    influence or interference.”
   Self-determination as involves the
    constructs of autonomy,
    self-actualization, and self-regulation.
    Self-Determination Defined - 3
Field and Hoffman (1994)
   “One’s ability to define and achieve
    goals based on a foundation of
    knowing and valuing oneself”.
   Five major directives: (a) know
    yourself, (b) value yourself, (c) plan,
    (d) act, and (e) experience outcomes
    and learn.
   Consensus Definition of Self-
       Determination

Field, Martin, Miller, Ward, & Wehmeyer (1998)
“Self-determination is 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 one’s self as capable and effective are
   essential to self-determination.”
              Common Elements of S-D
                   Definitions

   Attitudes;
   Skills;
   Goals;
   Choices relevant to decisions that
    affect one’s future.
Ward & Kohler (1996) analyzed
many of the 26 projects to
identify specific practices and
approaches related to teaching
and applying self-determination.
    Skills Curricula for Promoting
    Self-Determination
   Self-advocacy
   Decision making and goal setting
   Using community resources
   Creativity and self expression
   Assertiveness and self-actualization
   Empowerment and social independence
    Self-Determination Instruction
The instructional approaches fell into two
primary areas
   Developing students’ abilities regarding
    self-determination
       Characteristics
       Knowledge
       Skills
   Providing opportunities to practice and
    apply self-determination
         Emerging Issues in Self-
             Determination

DISCLAIMER:
 Not research-based

 Based on discussions with graduate
  students (teachers and related services
  personnel) working with secondary
  students with disabilities
 Issue 1 - Parents!
“This is how I want my
 son/daughter to be
 self-determined.”
 Issue 2 - Self-Disclosure
All students should know that:
 They have a specific disability,

 Their limitations,

 The preferred accommodations
    Issue 3 - Documentation
   Students need to have a name for
    their specific disability to obtain
    services and accommodations in
    postsecondary education and
    employment.
   Does this become a label? What
    about the term ‘mental retardation’?
         Issue 4 - Opportunities for
            Exhibiting Leadership
   Different than leadership opportunities
   How?
       Examples include playing sports, having a
        meaning role in a group project or school
        play
   Suggestions-
       Through “self-talk,” recognizing one’s
        talents and promoting these talents to
        others
    Issue 5 – Age of Majority  Guardianship

   At 18, the rights of the parent are
    transferred to the young person.
   Parents are encouraged to seek
    guardianship, especially if their child is
    developmentally disabled.
   Full v. limited guardianship
   In some states, full guardianship limits:
       Voting
       Obtaining a driver’s license
  Issue 5 - Transportation
Requirements for a driver’s license-
      Written test
      Road test
      Motivation/Incentive
      Safety v. risk
      Assuring others that safety v. risk is not
       concern
  Issue 6 - Emergency Preparedness

What do students do when parents are
  unavailable?
 Cell phone with pre-programmed

  alternative numbers
 Laminated wallet card with alternative

  numbers
 Safe house
    Self-Determination…

   Is NOT a model or program with
    predetermined services
   Differs from person to person
   Is person-centered and person-
    directed
    What is Self-Determination?

   The ultimate goal of education must
    be self-determination.
   Every individual with a disability
    must be encouraged and supported
    to participate in his/her service plan
    (IEP, IPE, etc.).
Self-determination is important and
  is best learned through a specific
  curriculum. The literature shows
  that self-determination does have
  positive impact on post-secondary
  and quality of life outcomes,
  including helping students learn to
  make decisions, be assertive, and
  self-advocate.
    Self-determination is not…

   Something you do.
   Reflected in solely having choice or
    obtaining specific outcomes (i.e., living
    in own home).
   An excuse for protecting the health and
    safety of a vulnerable person with a
    disability
 Self-Determination is

A process with the person
 with the disability taking
 control to the maximum
 extent possible with the
 minimum level of
 support.
    Mike’s definition of choice
   Choice requires a minimum of 3
    options:
       A
       B – Something other than ‘not A’
       Something other than A or B.
        Commonly known as “NONE OF
        THE ABOVE!”
  Suggestions to Increase S-D
It is imperative that youth with disabilities
   have multiple opportunities to practice
   these skills and receive reinforcement
   from their parents as well as additional
   opportunities to practice outside the
   classroom.
    Suggestions to Increase S-D
   Do not to deny or limit a person's
    right to self-determination based
    on a label or classification.
   Service professionals must be
    trained in methods of supporting
    self-determination along with the
    philosophy for doing so.
    A Systems Shift

   Change the way we think about
    people with disabilities.
   From seeing persons with disabilities as
    having limitations that prevent them from
    participating fully in life to seeing them as
    valuable citizens who have many talents,
    strengths, and abilities to contribute to
    their communities.
    A Systems Shift
   Change the way we serve them.
   From seeing persons with disabilities as
    service recipients to seeing them as
    individuals with rights and entitlements.

				
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posted:9/2/2012
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