Youth Development

Beginning at age 14 or earlier, students must be invited to attend their Individual Education Program (IEP) meetings as required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. There are many important reasons for students to participate in their own educational planning, especially as they prepare for life after high school. This section includes a rationale for self-determination, the principles and characteristics of self-determination, ways to prepare students to participate in their IEP and transition-planning meetings, and ways they can participate in the Summary of Performance (SOP) document.

Why Promote Self-Advocacy and Self-Determination?

Shannon at disability office

Students must be prepared to assume more responsibility for themselves in postschool environments.

By the time students leave high school, they must be prepared to assume more responsibility for themselves. If they pursue college, they are responsible for registering for classes, completing assignments on time, figuring out ways to live amicably with roommates, and balancing their time effectively. If they have disabilities, they may have additional obligations to meet with an academic support counselor, discuss accommodations with instructors, and follow through with learning strategy recommendations.

If graduating students want to work, they must learn how to pursue employment. When they find a job, they must take responsibility for their work performance and related work skills, such as getting along with their supervisors, co-workers, and customers, and informing their supervisor if they are going to be late or are unable to come to work. Graduates with disabilities must learn to discuss workplace accommodations that will facilitate their work performance.