Date of Award:

2016

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Special Education and Rehabilitation

Advisor/Chair:

Robert Morgan

Abstract

Students with disabilities often have difficulties transitioning from high school to employment. Many students lack the self-determination skills needed to make this transition. Self-determination involves students implementing strategies that enable them to modify and regulate their own behavior; and utilizing strategies that support them to track progress toward goals. The research literature has shown that self-determination instruction can facilitate positive transition outcomes. Collaboration between districts and outside agencies has also been shown to improve transition outcomes, according to existing research. This study examines the effects of self-determination training, taught by Vocational Rehabilitation counselors, on self-determination skills of students with disabilities. Participants included 11 students, ages 15-18, who have been identified as having a specific learning disability, intellectual disability, other health impairment, or autism. The target behavior will be increased self-determination scores on two instruments: a formal rating scale and curriculum-based assessment. The effects of the lessons will be measured by the AIR Self-Determination Scale and a Curriculum Based Assessment. Ten lessons were taught by a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor. The researcher found that student self-determination scores did not substantially increase after receiving “Job Club” instruction taught by the Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, but that participants showed an increased knowledge surrounding disability disclosure in the workplace and increased self-determination scores in the area of self-monitoring of progress towards a goal. The research also showed that participants who had been previously or were currently employed showed greater progress on a curriculum based assessment than those with no employment history.

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