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If you teach young adults, you probably know that when transition issues are discussed in the IEP meeting, students must be invited, as mandated in IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). And for good reason— we have a thorough body of research showing that an emphasis on self-determination throughout school leads to positive outcomes for students after high school.
Attainment’s Whose Future Is It? curriculum, authored by Michael L. Wehmeyer, PhD and Susan B. Palmer, PhD, introduces young adults to the transition process through carefully constructed language designed to speak directly to students. It focuses on the skills needed to participate in an IEP and take a meaningful role in planning for the future: problem solving, negotiation, compromise, and leadership, culminating with students writing their own goals and taking an active part in their IEP meetings.
Three studies with varying methods (randomized trial, pre- and post-measure design, and field study) showed that Whose Future Is It? significantly affected students’ self-determination and self-advocacy skills. You can download the research summary here, under the Research tab, and see sample pages as well.
The curriculum includes a Student Reader, Workbook, an Instructor's Guide and interactive software that helps make the information more accessible to all students with disabilities. The research showed that all students who use this program gain important transition knowledge and skills.
Having the proper curriculum in place is vital, but we also know that teachers and paraprofessionals work to encourage self-determination in a million ways, small and large, everyday.
What are some of the tried-and-tested ways you encourage self-determination in your classroom? Feel free to share your ideas and questions in the comments. And check out our Self-Determination Pinterest Board for videos, articles and images that might spark more ideas!