Mentor Tip: Self-Determination Support

Send this message to the mentors only.

Subject: Mentoring tips on self-determination support

Adults can further or hinder self-determination in young people. They can help create environments for a child—in the home, in the classroom, and in the community—that nurture the development of self-determination skills. Adults can model self-determined behavior and interact with children in ways that promote self-determination. Reflecting upon the following questions may help guide you as you support young people with disabilities.

  • How can you apply self-determination steps in your life? How can you best share your experiences with the young people with whom you interact?
  • What current factors in the classroom, home, church, and community encourage or discourage young people from being self-determined? How can these environmental factors be adjusted to support the development of self-determination skills?
  • How can you assure that young people with disabilities can fully participate in school, church, and community activities? How can you encourage them to do so?
  • How can you provide opportunities for young people to contribute to their family, school, or religious community?
  • How can you encourage young people to express their feelings? How can you be a better listener to assure a teenager that you understand what they are saying to you?
  • How can you encourage young people to understand their own strengths and challenges?
  • How can you encourage young people to set their own goals?
  • How can you encourage young people to take action and accept the consequences of their actions?
  • How can you help young people learn from the outcomes of their actions?
  • How can you model communication patterns that support self-determination in the young people with whom you interact?
  • How can you help a young person be actively involved in planning decisions as they transition to adulthood?
  • What special programs could be put in place in your school, church, or community center to help young people, including those with disabilities, develop and apply self-determination skills?