2BSD is about creating more self-determined lives. On these pages, you’ll find information about all things self-determined: what it is, why it’s important, and how to promote it.

We hope you’ll share your ideas for becoming self-determined with us; then we’ll do our best to share those ideas with others!

"Do it myself!"


“Self-determination is
persevering to
reach your goals.”

~ Alanna

“Self-determination is creating
an identity based on what
is truly meaningful.”

~ Todd

“Self-determination means you
really, really wanna do something
by yourself.”

~ Violet

“Family helps me be self-determined.”

~ Alanna

"Self-determination means you
can do what you want."

~ Mike

"Self-determination means
having the courage to chase my dreams."

~ Jose


What is Self-Determination?

People who are self-determined identify and work toward goals based on a foundation of knowing and valuing themselves. The degree to which we are self-determined is influenced both by our personal characteristics, i.e., our knowledge, skills and beliefs, and by the supports and barriers in our environments. We live with heightened self-determination when we have a good sense about what we want and take action to achieve it. Given the constancy of change, both in our environments and ourselves, self-determination is a process, not an outcome. Internal motivation is maximized when we approach a task or activity with a self-determination mindset. When we act with increased self-determination and heightened internal motivation, we increase our likelihood for success and enjoyment in education, employment and just about every other endeavor.

Our Action Model for Self-Determination was developed with the goal of identifying what individuals can do to increase their self-determination.  We recognize that environmental supports and barriers are highly important to self-determination. However, we chose to focus on factors affecting self-determination that are within a person’s control so we could develop educational programs and supports to help people increase their self-determination in a variety of settings. In addition, we believe that these characteristics will lead to increased ability to recognize and choose environments that are most conducive to self-determination.  To build the model, we conducted interviews with over 200 individuals across the U.S. representing a wide variety of ages, ethnicity and occupations. The questions we asked included What is self-determination? How does a self-determined person act? What helps you be self-determined? and What gets in the way of your self-determination? We analyzed themes that emerged from the responses to construct the model. Our model development process was also influenced by what we learned from the research and writing of others about self-determination, many of whom who’ll find more information about on the pages of this website.

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News & Events

  • Upcoming Workshops and Conferences

    A workshop on Contemplative Practices in Higher Education will be held at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY  September 18-20, 2015. Meditation and other contemplative practices can  contribute to self-determination by increasing self-awareness and decreasing stress responses.  The week-end workshop will provide and opportunity to explore how meditation and other contemplative practices can be woven into postsecondary settings while also providing an opportunity to consider your own practice. Omega Institute is in the heart of the Hudson River Valley just north of New York City and it should be beautiful there in September. I also hear they have great vegetarian food! For more information, see www.contemplativemind.org/event/contemplative-practice-in-higher-education-3.   The Council for Exceptional Children’s Division on Career Development and Transition (DCDT) will be holding their annual conference in Portland, Oregon Nov. 5-7, 2015………great city, great conference! The members of DCDT have been advocating for self-determination for students with disabilities since the early 90’s. It should be a

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  • Division on Career Development and Transition Conference “Transition Rocks”, Cleveland, Ohio, November 6-8, 2014.

    Sharon will be presenting “2BSD or not 2BSD: You Decide!” at the DCDT conference on November 7. She will introduce the new 2BSD website and invite participants to provide information on how 2BSD could be most useful to them.  She will also provide  information on new tools to assess and provide instruction for self-determination. DCDT is the premier national conference for those interested in helping students with disabilities transition from school to work, postsecondary education and community. The conference includes many sessions focused on supporting student self-determination as well as a range of informative sessions on all aspects of promoting successful transition from school to work and community for students with disabilities. For more information and registration information, visit  http://community.cec.sped.org/dcdt/home/ .

From Our Blog

  • You can win a prize by sharing your good news!

    We are creating a list of work being done in schools to promote self-determination. Please send us a paragraph about your efforts so we can share information about your work with others. Don’t worry about spelling or punctuation. We’ll take care of that! Just tell us a little bit about the setting in which you’re working, the types of students you are serving and any outcomes you have observed. A single paragraph is all we need, but if you want to send more, that’s fine too. There is a prize waiting for the first example received! Please send descriptions to sharon@beselfdetermined.com.
  • Early Childhood Materials Available for Preview

    I will be presenting at the Early On conference in Kalamazoo, Michigan tomorrow with Sondra Stegenga and June Gothberg on strategies to infuse self-determination in early childhood programming. As part of that effort, we are making a draft version of It’s All About Us! Encouraging Self-Determination in Early Childhood Education and Services available as a free download.  We want to know what you think.  Please let us know what works, what doesn’t and any comments or suggestions you may have. It’s All About Us
  • Nassau & Suffolk Counties, NY Making Great Strides in Self-Determination

    I had the opportunity to talk with Cathy Pantelides, Transition Specialist for the Long Island Regional Special Education Technical Assistance Support Center (LI RSE-TASC) and President of New York State DCDT, this week. Wow! They are doing some energetic and innovative things to promote self-determination and student-directed IEPs for students with disabilities throughout their region. Over the past five years, they have had a comprehensive effort to provide teachers with professional development and access to resources to encourage student self-determination. Beyond providing teachers with existing resources, they have also supported teachers to be self-determined and develop their own curricula to promote student self-determination. A strong sense of community has evolved that enables teachers to share ideas and information while having fun together at the same time. A few quotes from participating teachers illustrates the initiative’s impact: “The end result was so rewarding and empowering for the student and everyone in

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