Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2021


Self-determination is defined as “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 oneself as capable and effective. When acting on the basis of these skills and attitudes, individuals have greater ability to take control of their lives and assume the role of successful adults” (Denney & Daviso, 2012, pp. 43-44). A lack of self-determination can add to the problems of students with behavior concerns or disabilities. Many of them are on an Individual Education Plan (IEP) because their lack of self-determination is setting them back. They are falling behind not only academically, but socially and emotionally as well. The purpose of this literature review is to analyze what experts have studied about promoting self-determination in students with disabilities and their suggestions for future research. The goal of the research is to find ways to motivate children with disabilities. The principal finding from this literature review is that there are multiple aspects to promoting self-determination. While many authors and researchers have tried to standardize measurement and implementation of self-determination through various practices and perspectives including measurement tools, technology, supports of others, and through types of diversity, there is not a one-size-fits-all answer or solution. There will always be outliers. Self-determination on a broad scheme is a very complex issue that will need to be addressed systemically and individually.

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