Education K-12 M.A.

Number of Pages


Year Approved


First Advisor

Grubidge, Amie

Second Reader

Lisa Silmser;


Developing self-determination during the school years is a crucial component of the special education process. These skills, which are particularly important for students with disabilities, allow individuals to advocate for themselves and gain control over their educational future. Unfortunately, the traditional special education process leaves little room for self-determination instruction. Educators feel ill-equipped to teach this skill, and it is often not included in students’ instruction. Thus, students have minimal understanding of how to participate meaningfully in IEP preparation and meetings, resulting in a missed opportunity for developing their self-determination skills. This thesis aims to analyze the research regarding self-determination strategies that can be utilized by special education teachers when planning for and managing IEP meetings to maximize the benefits of student participation. The analysis of this research demonstrated that students who receive self-determination instruction through IEP meeting preparation and participation increase their self-awareness of their strengths, needs, and personal goals, assist in creating their own goals, and improving their verbal and nonverbal communication skills. Based on this research, it can be concluded that using the IEP meeting as an opportunity for self-determination instruction results in significant skill development in special education students.

Degree Name

Education K-12 M.A.

Document Type

Masterʼs thesis