Self-Determination and Self-Advocacy

Definition: All students develop the skills, behaviors, and attitudes, through direct instruction and/or added support, as necessary, that enable students to learn and grow in self-knowledge, social interactions, physical and emotional health, and self-determination.

Videos about learning disabilities

A series of 6:00 – 8:00-minute videos by Dr. Sheldon Horowitz at the National Center for Learning Disabilities.

Learning Disabilities: What are the Different Types?


Strengths of Students with Learning Disabilities and Other Disorders


What is Dyscalculia?

What is Dysgraphia?

6:10-minutes. More about dysgraphia

What is Dyslexia?

6:35-minutes. More about dyslexia

What is Executive Function?

What is Visual Processing?

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

8:42-minutes. More about ASD

What is ADHD?

5:09-minutes. More about ADHD


  • The I’m Determined website in Virginia offers good resources for youth, families, and educators around self-determination. The website includes videos, training modules, a transition guide, downloadable brochures, and more.
  • The Youthhood website provides a holistic, web-based curriculum that teachers, community service providers, parents, and mentors can use with young adults to develop skills, increase knowledge, and implement a personal life plan that will help young adults achieve their dreams.
  • 2BSD is an action model for self-determination with the goal of identifying what individuals can do to increase their self-determination. It focuses on factors affecting self-determination that are within a person’s control. Check out the interactive graphic and the resources!
  • The Self-Determined Learning Model of Instruction (SDLMI) enables students with and without disabilities to achieve self-selected goals and positive in-school and post-school outcomes, such as access to and performance in general education curriculum, transition skills, and health-related skills. SDLMI Teacher’s Guide (PDF, 66 pages, 2019)
  • Webinar recording, Promoting Self-Determination and More Positive Transition Outcomes: The Self-Determined Learning Model of Instruction (Video, 44:55-minutes, 2016) from the Transition Coalition. Michael Wehmeyer identifies how the SLDMI can be implemented in classrooms and schools. Includes resources to download.
  • Individual learning plans (ILPs) help students translate what they learn in school into real-world job skills. The federal Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) has a toolkit called “Kick Start Your ILP” that includes checklists for each year of high school.
  • This is an oldie but goodie: Secondary Transition Toolkit (PDF, 102 pages, 2008) developed by the Pennsylvania Youth Leadership Network. It was developed BY youth FOR youth, and is organized in three phases: Accept Yourself, Declare Yourself, and Empower Yourself. There’s things to read and lots of pages to complete.
  • A wealth of assessment and curriculum materials to support students with developing self-determination skills: Zarrow Center for Learning Enrichment, at the University of Oklahoma.
  • A Research to Practice series on different aspects of self-determination: self-advocacy, employment, health, community services, aging, family roles, and college, from the National Gateway to Self-Determination. Each issue includes definitions, a brief review of the literature, promising practices, and applied examples. (PDFs, 25-35 pages, 2012-13)


Understanding your disability

Social skills

  • Learning difficulties and social skills: what’s the connection?, from the Great Schools website.
  • Impact newsletter (text, or PDF, 40 pages, 2011) from the Institute on Community Integration, U. Minn. features articles on fostering social well-being and friendship for children and youth with developmental and other disabilities.
  • Elevatus Training offers a free email newsletter, plus curriculum and both online and in-person workshops to help parents, teachers and service providers learn to be comfortable addressing sexuality with people with developmental disabilities.


  • Disability Disclosure in the Workplace is on online lesson from Transition Tennessee. After completing it, a student will be able to explain what disability disclosure is and decide if there would be a need to disclose their disability given sample situations.
  • The 411 on Disability Disclosure (PDF, 99 pages, 2005) is a guide to help you make decisions about what you will tell people about your disability. Old but good.

Disability History

New content 8/21/20