Self-determinationis having the knowledge and skills that empower a person to engage in goal focusedand self sufficient behavior. Having an understanding of an individual’s strengthsand an awareness of one’s weaknesses, with the belief in oneself regardless ofthe weaknesses a person with disabilities is essential in possessingself-determination. In simple terms, self-determination means making thingshappen in one’s life rather than waiting for things to be happen or to be donefor oneself. People who are self-determined set goals for themselves, holdthemselves accountable, and advocate for themselves.
There are a few key components ofself-determined behavior. Being able to make choices, decision making skills,and problem-solving skills are just a few. I grouped these 3 together becausethey share similarities. In order to make a choice or decision, problem solvingskills are needed.
Being independent is also a component of self-determinedbehavior. There are some self-regulated behaviors that are components ofself-determined behavior. Goal setting and attainment skills are important,being able to make a goal and take action in order to make that goal happen. Self-observation, evaluation,and, reinforcement skills, self, instruction skills, and self-advocacy skillsare all self-regulated behaviors that are part of being a self-determinedperson.
Beingempowered by having an internal locus of control and positive attributions ofefficacy and outcome expectancy are both psychological attributes ofself-determined behavior. Out of these components, I thinkself-advocacy skills are highly important. Having the confidence to speak upfor yourself and your beliefs is a major part in being self-determined.
Theability to understand and communicate your needs and wants to others is a skillall people need not just those with disabilities. I also believe that goalsetting and attainment skills is a major part of self-determination as well.Everyone can set goals, but not everyone has the knowledge and tools to attainand work toward their goals. You can’t reach your goals if you don’t know thesteps to take to reach that goal.