Developing Self-Determination Skills

Developing Self-Determination Skills

Self-determination means to have a belief and a resolve to control personal destiny. It integrates abilities, knowledge, and attitudes that guide people to set personal goals and objectives. I believe that self-determination does not involve being independent of self-sufficient, but being in charge. It is the ability to make personal choices and take responsibility for personal life decisions. It is the ability to solve problems effectively. I understand and believe that exercising self-determination implies experiencing the consequences of personal choices.

Self-determination is about understanding individual strengths and limitations coupled with a belief in oneself as effective and capable. In order to assist students develop self-determination skills, I belief that I should teach the skills required to make appropriate choices, make quality decisions, set personal goals and make action plans, and participate in problem solving. In addition, provide mentorship by facilitating the sharing of adult experiences and advice.

Choice making: I believe that teaching learners how to make choices is essential. In this regard, I will teach students and let them practice how to choose appropriately between choices (limited number of options). It is vital to provide feedback relating to the outcomes of the choices that the students make.

Problem Solving: This is an essential skill for self determination. I believe that it involves facilitating students to learn how to weigh consequences of potential actions. In addition, I will help students identify factors that are barriers to success. Teachers should model their individual problem solving processes. The learning process should allow students to think aloud and solve basic problems.

Decision Making: Inability to make decisions discourages self determination. I believe that teachers should help students how to make choices among unlimited alternatives. Teachers should encourage students to make decisions that influence their daily activities. Young people with disabilities experiences difficulties in learning the skills of self-determination. This is primarily because people often make all decisions for them. The underlying misconception is that people with disabilities are not able to think and make decisions.

Goal Setting and Attainment: I believe that goal setting is a vital component of self-determination. This component involves developing the ability to set appropriate goals and achieve goals by actions. It is essential to teach learners how to translate goals into short-term objectives.

Mentoring: Adults with disabilities are vital role models in the process of teaching self-determination skills. In addition to serving as role models, I believe that older persons can work directly with young people as mentors. In assisting students, I intend to utilize older people to share strategies and experiences that helped them develop independence and gain successful employment. Mentors are useful in guiding learners through transitions in life. Adult experiences act as advice on problem solving. Mentors provide the needed encouragement.

I believe that the process of developing self-determination skills starts in childhood and continues throughout life. It is essential for all people, but crucially useful for young persons with disabilities. In order to take charge of life, one must be able to evaluate options, make choices, set goals, and pursue objectives that lead to achievement of the set goals. Effective learning of self-determination skills occurs through practice. In preparing young people for work and community life, I believe that teachers should accord learners ample opportunity to apply decision making, self-advocacy, and socialization skills before they leave school.

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