Self-determination is the power to make choices and decisions based on preferences and interests of the individual. Self-determination is a critical skill for success in higher education because, once students with disabilities graduate from high school, they are no longer entitled to the individual services detailed in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
In the post-secondary setting, individuals with a documented disability must self-identify – disclose their need for accommodations – to Disability Support Services. DSS then determines their eligibility for accommodations under the Americans with Disability Act.
Characteristics involve understanding one's needs, abilities, strengths, limitations and values.
Self-determination involves making choices and decisions, gathering information and setting goals.
Autonomy involves developing a plan of action and implementing it.
Psychological empowerment involves assessing one's performance and determining when a goal or task has been satisfactorily completed.
Self-advocacy is learning how to speak up for yourself, making informed choices about your own life, accessing information to make decisions, building support, knowing your rights and responsibilities, reaching out to others when you need help and friendship and being determined to reach goals you developed.
Self-awareness is to understand your strengths, weaknesses, accommodations and supporting your needs and your disability by understanding how it impacts you in the educational environment.
Knowing your rights involves understanding available resources on and off campus and being able to advocate for change.
Communication involves being assertive and expressing your needs in a positive way, active listening and compromising when necessary.
Leadership involves asking questions, making informed choices, taking responsibility and empowering yourself.