Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)


Professional Studies in Education

First Advisor

Valeri R. Helterbran, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Shirley A. Johnson, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Kelli R. Paquette, Ed.D.


Field et al. (1998) defined self-determination as a set of skills, beliefs, and knowledge that allows an individual to self-regulate and assume responsibility autonomously. This qualitative, multi-method (Creswell, 2011) study aims to explore the perceptions of teachers in the field of special education in regards to the promotion of self-determination in students with a specific learning disability (SLD) in third through ninth grades prior to the implementation of the transition plan of the Individualized Education Plan (IEP). For the purpose of this study, five sub-skills of student self-determination are the main focus: self-awareness, self-concept, self-efficacy, self-regulation, and self-advocacy. These skills support the students in order to acknowledge their strengths, needs, and appeal for their rights. Preparing students to attend their IEP meetings is pertinent to their participation, development of self-awareness, self-concept, self-efficacy, self-regulations, and self-advocacy as well as their self-empowerment throughout their lifespan. The data collected from focus group sessions, academic documents (lesson plans, goal pages, transition plan page etc.), and anecdotal notes are presented which includes the perceptions of teachers in the field of special education who interact with students with a SLD prior to the transition plan age.