Families » Self-Determination


Self-determination means making things happen in your own life,
instead of others doing things for you.
Michael Wehmeyer

A big part of success in life is knowing yourself, knowing what you want, and creating a plan to achieve it. This knowing yourself, what you want, and how to achieve it is known as self-determination. Self-determination is very important to everyone, but especially to those who have disabilities. People with disabilities who are high levels of self-determination achieve better adult outcomes. Right now, you and your child’s teachers ensure that your child gets the help they need to be successful in school, but once your child graduates from school, things change. Help is available, but in order to receive this help, your child will need to prove they are eligible for help and that they need the help to be successful as an adult. Adulthood is when self-determination really comes in handy. Explore the links below to learn more about self-determination and how you can help your child develop it.


The 2BSD provides information and resources for self-determination, using an action model for self-determination. You can use this website to learn about the concept of self-determination. Additionally, on the Resources section there is a “Self-determination Supports for Parents Scale” you can use to assess your own self-determination as a parent.


Disability History Museum
The Disability History Museum is an online museum that can be used to learn about how disability has been experienced in the past and present. An understanding of disability history can help you with your advocacy now and in the future.


Disability Rights Texas
Disability Rights Texas helps people with disabilities understand and exercise their rights under the law, ensuring their full and equal participation in society.

I'm Determined
The I’m Determined project, a state-directed project funded by the Virginia Department of Education, focuses on providing direct instruction, models, and opportunities to practice skills associated with self-determined behavior. This link directs to the Parent Resources section of the site, but there is a lot of good information in other parts of the site, too.


PACER Center: Self-determination
This website provides information and resources on self-determination for parents of children and youth with disabilities.


University of Kansas Beach Center on Disability: Self-determination
The Beach Center on Disability focuses research, training, and advocacy on promoting abilities of people of all ages who experience disability, to assure a self-determined, goal-driven, and self-selected quality of life within communities where everyone lives. The Families and Self-Determination sections of the website provide resources such as the “Beach Center Family Research Toolkit” and “A Parent’s Guide to the Self-Determined Learning Model for Early Elementary Students.”