We found that in most cases, people consider the goal of education to be developing a self-determined individual. Self-determination is an abstract term. Behavior analysts may find this term difficult to define. Therefore, it may be difficult to observe and measure whether “self-determined behaviors” have developed. Many other service providers use this term frequently; thus, behavior analysts working with these service providers must come to terms with this concept in order to better collaborate. We argue that self-determination can be operationally defined with the concepts of choice, self-control, and self-management. By using the measurable behaviors included in these concepts, we believe that services can be developed to teach self-determination skills. This presentation, based on a paper published in 2020, explores these concepts and how they can contribute to an operational definition of self determination, and ultimately, help behavior analysts work with other providers to effectively teach self-determination to individuals with developmental disabilities.
BACB Learning CEUs, SW CEUs, SCECH CEUs, and APA CEUs
Stephanie M. Peterson, Ph.D. is Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Western Michigan University. She earned her doctorate in Special Education at The University of Iowa in 1994. She is also Professor of Psychology and the previous chair of the Department of Psychology. Previously, she taught at Gonzaga University, Utah State University, The Ohio State University, and Idaho State University. Her primary research interests are helping to decrease chronic severe behavior problems in children with developmental disabilities. Specifically, she studies choice making in the treatment of problem behavior, functional communication training, reinforcement-based interventions for children with problem behavior, concurrent schedules of reinforcement in the treatment of severe problem behavior, functional analysis of problem behavior, and teleconsultation. She also has interests in applications of behavior analysis to educational interventions and teacher/behavior analyst training. She has served on a variety of editorial boards, including the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and Behavior Analysis in Practice and is currently the editor of Behavior Analysis in Practice. She also served as a Senior Editor for Education and Treatment of Children for many years. She served two 3-year terms on the Board of Directors for the Behavior Analyst Certification Board and was been appointed by the Governor of Michigan to the Michigan Board of Behavior Analysts, Michigan’s licensing board for behavior analysts. She served as the President of the Board for two years.