Students » 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 what you want and creating a plan to achieve it. This is known as self-determination. Self-determination helps you think about your strengths and needs and create plans based on what you want. As a student, your teachers and family make sure you are getting the help you need to be successful in school. Once you are an adult, things change. Help is available, but it is different from the help you get during school. 

While in school, you are entitled to a free appropriate public education that includes specialized services to help you move from school to adult life. However, once you graduate, this will not be true. As an adult who may need accommodations or other services, you have to be able to prove that you are eligible for those accommodations or services. This is where self-determination really comes in handy. Explore the links below to learn more about self-determination. 


Autistic Self Advocacy Network
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) is an organization created by people with autism for people with autism. The ASAN is a national disability rights organization that works to advance civil rights, empower people with autism, and improve public perceptions of autism. In addition to learning more about autism, you can learn how to get involved in local, state, and national advocacy efforts.


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.


I'm Determined
I’m Determined, a project of the Virginia Department of Education, provides information and resources on self-determination. On the Quick Links section of the website are training modules you can use to learn about disability history and self-determination, a one-page document to help you learn more about yourself, a goal planning tool to help you set and achieve your goals, and other resources you can use to increase your self-determination skills.