What is Self-Determination

Self-determination is simply the idea that you should be in control of your own life. But what does having life control mean? The answer is not simple. To be able to direct your life, you need several things:


The first and most important way to start is: 
Knowing what you want and need.

Young man with Down Syndrome smiling

Once you have that understand, you will also want to:

  • Understand the choices you have in life.
  • Be aware of what resources you are able to use.
  • Be able to make decisions about your choices.
  • Have support so that your decisions can become real.

Knowing What You Want and Need

What You Want

Knowing the things you want for yourself means understanding your goals in life – having a good job, living in a nice home you enjoy; and having fun with friends, and other life goals you might have, such as faith, health, and more.

Life goals include work, home, fun, health, and other areas

What You Need

Being able to understand your needs means being able to understand what assistance you require. You should understand how your disability creates any gaps to your goals. Think about what supports you must have, and whether you need other assistance to reach your life goals.

Gaps to Reach Goals
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