Abstract

Interviews were conducted with 17 individuals who had intellectual disability to expand our understanding of the impact of self-determination in their life. Themes emerging from the interviews were grouped into three categories: meaning of self-determination, learning about self-determination, and dreams for the future. Participants described self-determination as being able to make choices and be in control of one's life and setting as well as being able to work toward goals and engage in advocacy. Participants discussed the importance of supports for expressing self-determination and identified environmental characteristics that promoted and inhibited self-determination. Overall, their perceptions confirm the importance of promoting personal development of skills and attitudes associated with self-determination and systems change to create environmental opportunities for self-determination and causal agency. Implications for future research and practice are discussed.

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