Promoting Self-Determination in Students with Developmental Disabilities

Michael L. Wehmeyer

April 13, 2007
ISBN 9781593854614
Price: $76.00 $64.60
206 Pages
Size: 7" x 10"
April 14, 2007
ISBN 9781593854607
Price: $31.00 $26.35
206 Pages
Size: 7" x 10"

Growing evidence suggests that self-determination is a significant factor in improving educational and transition outcomes in students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This volume reviews the breadth of available methods for teaching components of self-determination—including choice making, problem solving, decision making, goal setting, self-advocacy, and self-regulated learning—and provides best-practice recommendations that teachers can put to immediate use in the classroom. Grounded in theory and research, the strategies presented here have been shown to enhance students' involvement in educational planning and support them in meeting their goals in school, the workplace, and the community. Special features include reproducible worksheets and forms.

“An informative and comprehensive review of the important topic of self-determination....Will provide teachers, students, professors, and practitioners with a useful resource. This book is a practical guide containing suggested training steps for skill acquisition and lists of behaviors to be trained (task analyses). Original training materials to teach the skills reviewed are also included....Wehmeyer provides a thorough synthesis of the research literature on self-determination and organizes the information in a logical and clear fashion. Many effective methods are described.”


“I really like the way Wehmeyer links science to practice, combining theory and research with practical instructional methods and strategies. This volume will be useful for anyone involved in teaching self-determination skills to students with disabilities. It also is an appropriate text for graduate students and an excellent resource for faculty members.”

—David W. Test, PhD, Department of Special Education and Child Development, University of North Carolina-Charlotte

“At last, a book that offers the best of what we know from research on how to promote self-determination in students with disabilities. This much-needed book delivers proven, practical strategies for classroom instruction. It should be required reading for teachers and other professionals supporting students in the transition from school to adult life.”

—David R. Johnson, PhD, Department of Educational Policy and Administration and Institute on Community Integration, University of Minnesota

“Self-determination has been a foundation of my curriculum for my students over the last two years, but I had not articulated the specific subsets involved in this concept before reading this book. Wehmeyer breaks self-determination down into the necessary skills of choice making, decision making, goal setting and attainment, and self-advocacy. He shows how to provide opportunity and instruction to support students in successfully meeting their unique transition goals. As a teacher of students with disabilities, I am grateful for this vital contribution to the field.”

—Tom Szambecki, Lead Teacher, Maize Transition Skills Network, Sedgwick County, Kansas

“This straightforward, research-based guide provides strategies to prepare students for state and federal assessments by introducing problem-solving and decision-making skills, without changing the curriculum. The examples given in the book can be adapted and applied to students of a range of ages and abilities. The text could be used by university professors to demonstrate how teachers can provide students with a learning environment that includes choices. School districts could use the book in professional learning communities as well as for new teachers and mentors. This book is awesome, and I hope teachers take a look at the research. These strategies could provide a new look at education.”

—Chuck Howard, MAE, teacher, Special School District of St. Louis County, Missouri

Table of Contents

I. Introduction

1. Overview of Self-Determination and Self-Determined Learning

II. Promoting Self-Determination

2. Assessing Preferences and Promoting Choice Making

3. Teaching Problem Solving and Decision Making

4. Teaching Goal Setting and Attainment

5. Teaching Self-Advocacy

III. Promoting Self-Determined Learning

6. Antecedent Event Regulation

7. Consequent Event Regulation

8. Self-Instruction

9. The Self-Determined Learning Model of Instruction

IV. Curriculum Modifications and Student Involvement

10. Technology and Universal Design to Promote Self-Determination

11. Student Involvement in Educational Planning

About the Author

Michael L. Wehmeyer, PhD, is Professor, Department of Special Education; Director, Kansas University Center on Developmental Disabilities; and Associate Director, Beach Center on Disability at the University of Kansas. He is the author of 195 refereed articles or book chapters and has authored or edited 20 books on disability and education-related issues pertaining to self-determination, transition, universal design for learning and access to the general curriculum for students with severe disabilities, and technology use by people with cognitive disabilities. He is a member of the board of directors and a fellow of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, a past president of the Council for Exceptional Children’s (CEC) Division on Career Development and Transition, and editor-in-chief of Remedial and Special Education. In 1999 Dr. Wehmeyer was the inaugural recipient of the Distinguished Early Career Research Award from the CEC’s Division for Research. In 2003 he was awarded the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities National Education award.


Special educators in grades 6–12; school psychologists and counselors; other professionals who work with students with intellectual and developmental disabilities; undergraduate- and graduate-level students.

Course Use

Will serve as a supplemental text in such courses as Secondary Education and Transition for Students with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and Special Education Methods for Moderate to Severe Disabilities.