What is Self-Determination?

Self-determination has become an important characteristic for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (Wehmeyer et al., 2011; Carter, Owens, Trainor, Sun, & Sweeden, 2009). Self-determined individuals have the knowledge and skills to express their needs, interests, and abilities (Wolman, Campeau, DuBois, Mithaug, & Stolarski, 1994). The Self-Determination Toolkit was developed at the University of Alaska Anchorage Center for Human Development. 


The Self-Determination Toolkit is designed for teachers, parents, students, and other professionals interested in supporting self-determination in home, school, and community settings. The Toolkit is a collection of resources, which provide a basic framework to build self-determination activities into both traditional and adapted curricula for students of all ages.

Common principles of self-determination in the Toolkit include:
  •      Freedom
  •      Authority
  •      Responsibility
  •      Respect
  •      Rights
  •      Creativity
  •      Interdependence

Contact CHD

Stephanie George
(907) 264-6221

UAA Center for Human Development
2702 Gambell St. Suite 103
Anchorage, Alaska 99503
Ph: (907) 272-8270
1 (800) 243-2199
TTY: (907) 264-6206
Fax: (907) 274-4802

Self-Determination Toolkit Materials

Self-Determination Toolkit Materials

Foundations of Self-Determination: A handbook to introduce concepts and ideas of self-determination. For teachers, this handbook outlines how to use self-determination in the classroom, ideas for lesson plan adaptations, and introduction to the Alaska Content Standards. For parents and other supports, this handbook discusses how they can support self-determination, promote independence, and issues of guardianship.  


Lesson Plans for Teaching Self-Determination: Curricula, materials, and activities for use in the classroom to promote self-determination. Topics include: knowing yourself; communication styles; assertiveness skills; applying assertiveness skills; listening skills; handling feedback; negotiating; rules, rights, and responsibilities; tackling infringements on rights; life after school; understanding the law; what is special education; and voting.  


Fostering Self-Determination: Activities and lesson plans to promote self-determination skills in the classroom. Content areas include: self-awareness, interpersonal communication, assertiveness, goal-setting, creative problem solving, video-based personal futures planning, and video self-modeling.  


Comic Books: Super Plan Man and Superplanners are comic books which describe two students who take control by becoming self-determined and by having a voice in their individual education planning meeting. (Coming Soon)

3 R’s of Self-Determination: Rights, Responsibilities, & Resources: Practice guide and activities to help students understand the relationship between rights and responsibilities. This guide offers opportunities to practice self-advocacy.  


Speak Up! Guide: Resource guide to increase knowledge about self-advocacy, self-determination, and leadership. 



Hey, It's My Life Video

An introduction to self-determination and words of wisdom from people practicing self-determination in Alaska.


Links to Other Self-Determination Resources

Alaska Content Standards, State of Alaska, Department of Education & Early Development: Standards established by the Department of Education & Early Learning representing what Alaskan students should know as a result of their schooling.  


A National Gateway to Self-Determination: A web portal with a clearinghouse of resources, training, and information on self-determination.  


National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities: Provides resources and publications on student led IEPs – find information under “S,” “Student’s Guide to the IEP package.”  


Project Vote Smart: The Voters Self-Defense System: A website with resources and materials related to voting and civic engagement. Look for the Voter’s Self-Defense Manual and the K-12 Education Program for use in the classroom.