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Self-Determination / Self-Advocacy

Self-determination is the process by which you control your own life, including the skills, knowledge, and beliefs that allow you to make informed choices and accept the consequences/responsibilities that result from those decisions.

Are you ready to make your own choices and live with the consequences? Are you able to set goals and complete the steps necessary to achieve those goals?

Self-advocacy is knowing your rights and having the ability to effectively communicate your needs, interests and desires. Self-advocacy, one part of self-determination, is the ability to speak for yourself and seek what you need for your life. This includes risk-taking, negotiating, the ability to respond to conflict/criticism, and persistence to achieve your goals.

How well do you know yourself? Can you describe your strengths, weaknesses, and disability? Learning about and being able to communicate these things are part of transitioning to adulthood.

504 / IEP screenshot

504 Plan / Individualized Education Plan (IEP)

Click to view the differences.


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Deciding to Disclose Your Disability

Do you know when to disclose your disability?


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Examples of accommodations or modifications for school, the workplace, and independent living


Teaching Self-Advocacy from Transition Tennessee on Vimeo.

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Self-Advocacy Online

Learn more about Self-Advocacy
PACER's National Parent Center on Transition and Employment

Postsecondary Accommodations FAQs

View FAQs

Definition of Disability
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) defines “child with a disability” as a child with any of the following:

  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Hearing impairments (including deafness)
  • Speech or language impairments
  • Visual impairments (including blindness)
  • Serious emotional disturbance
  • Orthopedic impairments
  • Autism
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Other health impairments
  • Specific learning disabilities
  • AND
  • Needs special education and related services.