Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
Self-determination and self-advocacy skills, necessary for students to successfully transition to secondary education and beyond, are often missing in students with disabilities. These skills are an important part of the process of addressing transition in an Individualized Education Program (IEP). The purpose of this case study was to gain an understanding of general education teachers' perceptions about self-determination and self-advocacy skills in students with disabilities. Guided by Deci and Ryan's self-determination theory, this study examined general education teachers' perceptions about self-determination and self-advocacy skills in students with disabilities, and attempted to determine how these skills changed after students with disabilities worked with a peer advocate. General education teachers' perceptions about self-determination and self-advocacy were identified, as well as differences in perceptions regarding students who worked with a peer advocate and those who did not. A purposeful sample of 5 general education teachers was selected to participate in this study. Teachers participated in 1 interview, completed an anonymous survey, and participated in 1 classroom observation. Descriptive analysis was used to present the information in a narrative. Participants felt that self-determination and self-advocacy skills were important for students with disabilities. Teachers with the experience of having peer advocates in their classroom noticed an increase of self-determination and self-advocacy skills in students with disabilities. This study may provide positive social change by giving insight to educators on ways to utilize peer tutors or advocates with students with disabilities to aid in their academic and social success, resulting in successful student participation in the IEP process and transitioning from middle school to high school.