Developing Three Initial Components of Self-Determination: A Case Study of Fifth-Grade Students with Learning Disabilities
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This research was completed to evaluate the effectiveness of a self-determination curriculum intended to increase the knowledge of initial components of self-determination with students with a primary disability of LD. The initial components are: knowledge of the concept of LD, knowledge of personal abilities, strengths, and challenges, and the understanding and application of self-advocacy. The participants were eight fifth-grade students at a mid-size public elementary school in the Midwest. To determine effectiveness, the researcher interviewed the participants before and after the implementation of the self -determination curriculum to compare growth in their responses. Pre and post interviews that focused on self-advocacy were also conducted with the participants' general education teachers. Finally, self-advocacy data collection by the single researcher took place before and after the self-determination curriculum, or "Focus Group." The results indicated that the self-determination curriculum was effective in increasing growth of student knowledge of LD and increasing their understanding of their self-awareness and disability awareness. However, the curriculum was not effective in increasing the progress of applying self-advocacy in the general education classrooms. Questions were raised concerning students' input for accommodations in the classroom. Recommendations for implementing the self-determination curriculum are shared. Educational settings for the implementation of self-determination instruction are discussed, as well as the researcher's lessons learned, and the limitations of the present study.
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