Youth Development

Self-Determination Skill Development

Students who are “self-determined” are able to speak up for themselves, make decisions, and communicate their decisions to others in the classroom, community, and at work. Self-determination also means that students have the skills to make a plan to get themselves from where they are right now to what they want to be in the future.

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What Is Self-Determination?

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Self-determination is having the confidence to “take charge” of one’s life. Students who are self-determined can:

  • Speak up for their wants and needs
  • Make decisions
  • Communicate effectively with others
  • Recognize interests and goals for their future
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Lets hear the story of Rohan Murphy and how his self-determination was developed.

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How Can Transition Team Members Support The Development Of Self- Determination?

Transition team members play a strong role in helping students develop skills for self determination. This can be done by helping students:

  • Learn about their disability, strengths, and needs
  • Feel proud and confident about who they are
  • Learn how to request accommodations and supports to help themselves succeed in life after high school
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What Does Developing Self-Determination Skills Do For Students?

By learning self-determination skills, students can improve their:

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Problem Solving SKills

Ability to find different solutions to problems and pick the one that helps reach a goal with the least amount of challenges.

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Self-Advocacy Skills

Ability to advocate on their own behalf while getting involved in solving problems and making decisions.

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Choice and Voice

Ability to make decisions that provide them with the opportunities they want to experience and the support they need to thrive independently.

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Goal Setting

Ability to create achievable goals and access the resources/supports needed to get there.

Career Interested


Supporting decision making: A guide to supporting people with disabilities to make their own decisions.



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