We understand self-determination to refer to a characteristic of a person that leads them to make choices and decisions based on their own preferences and interests, to monitor and regulate their own actions and to be goal-oriented and self-directing.
The DD Act definition of self-determined actions, as noted below, suggests that both the abilities of the person and the opportunities presented by the environment contribute to the degree of self-determination that can be expressed.
DD Act Self-Determined Actions:
An individual with developmental disabilities, with assistance:
- has the ability and opportunity to make choices and decisions;
- has the ability and opportunity to exercise control over services, supports, and other assistance;
- has the authority to control resources and obtain needed services;
- has the opportunity to participate in and contribute to their communities;
- has the support, including financial, to advocate, develop leadership skills, become trained as a self-advocate, and participate in coalitions and policy-making.
In line with this social approach, we have adopted a social-ecological approach by which we consider self-determination to reflect the interaction of factors in both the personal and environmental domains.