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National Center on Secondary Education and Transition: Creating opportunities for youth with disabilities to achieve successful futures.

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E-mail a link to this page to someone you knowSelf-Determination for Middle and High School Students

Additional Resources


Web Products

Planning Student-Directed Transitions to Adult Life (2000)
An ERIC Digest article providing an overview of how to conduct and implement a student-centered, student-directed future planning process.

Student Guide to the IEP (2nd ed.) (2002)
Winner of several awards, including a 1996 Easter Seals Award, this Student’s Guide is produced on audiotape with an accompanying booklet (which is read on the tape) to help students with disabilities participate in developing their own Individualized Education Program (IEP). The guide has been updated to reflect Federal regulations for IEPs under IDEA 97. Produced by the National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities.

Students with Disabilities Preparing for Postsecondary Education: Know Your Rights and Responsibilities (2011)
This pamphlet explains the rights and responsibilities of students with disabilities who are preparing to attend postsecondary schools. In addition, the pamphlet explains the obligations of a postsecondary school to provide academic adjustments, including auxiliary aids and services, to ensure that the school does not discriminate on the basis of disability.

The Self-Determination of Youth with Disabilities (June 2005)
The National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 investigated self-determination among 16- to 18-year-olds with disabilities using items selected from The Arc’s Self-Determination Scale. This Fact Sheet reports youths’ responses about the extent to which their behavior reflects autonomy, self-regulation, self-realization, and psychological empowerment. Available in PDF (8 pages, 235 KB).

Print Products

Holburn, S., & Vietze, P. M. (Eds.) (2002). Person-centered planning: Research, practice, and future directions. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes.
This book discusses concrete ways that person-centered planning can improve the lives of individuals with different levels of disabilities living in various environments and explores research that validates its effectiveness. This book provides instructions to help professionals assess an individual’s preferences, explores how person-centered planning can reduce challenging behavior, and offers professional development strategies for staff adopting person-centered planning. Supported by quantitative and qualitative research, this book gives professionals a complete picture of the challenges and benefits person-centered planning can bring and equips them with strategies for making it work.

Mithaug, D. E., Mithaug, D. K., Agran, M., Martin, J. E., & Wehmeyer, M. L. (Eds.). (2003). Self-determined learning theory: construction, verification, and evaluation. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
This volume brings together four areas of research—choice, self-determination, self-regulation, and self-management—to form a new theory of self-engaged learning called "self-determined learning theory." Although aimed primarily at leaders in special education, it can also appeal to researchers and scholars in psychology, educational psychology, and school psychology who are interested in the applications of self-regulated learning theory.

Web Sites

Center for Self-Determination
The Center for Self-Determination is a highly interactive working collaborative of individuals and organizations committed to the principles of self-determination. The purpose of the collaborative is to change the nature of the support and service system for individuals with disabilities, using the principles of self-determination to help all persons create the lives they want, connected to and with their communities.

DO-IT: Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology
Supported by the University of Washington, DO-IT is an organization of youth and adults with disabilities successfully pursuing college and careers. DO-IT provides resources, publications, videotapes, and programs that support and promote the independence, self-determination, and full participation of youth and adults with disabilities.

Self Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE)
An organization developing self-advocacy opportunities in every state, working with the juvenile justice system and the rights of persons with disabilities, and helping to close institutions and build community supports.

Self-Advocacy and Self-Determination Resource Page from Florida's Project 10
This Web page from the Project 10 Transition Education Network in Florida includes information and links to resources on self-advocacy and self-determination.

Waisman Center: University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities
The mission of the University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities at the University of Wisconsin is to support the full inclusion and self-determination of people with developmental disabilities and their families. The Center accomplishes this mission through its preservice training programs, clinical and intervention services, continuing education programs, and technical assistance and consultation services.

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National Center on Secondary Education and Transition
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This page was last updated on January 12, 2022.