Conceptualizing Self-Determination from a Behavior Analytic Perspective (Stephanie Peterson)

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.
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Stephanie Peterson
Presented at the 2021 Michigan Autism Conference
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