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creating more
Self-determined lives

What is Self-Determination

People who are self-determined know what they want and are highly motivated to achieve it. 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.

According to Deci and Ryan’s Self-Determination Theory, we are most self-determined when our needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness are met.

When these needs are satisfied, our motivation is increased and our ability to achieve what we want soars. Given the constancy of change, both in our environments and ourselves, self-determination is a process, not an outcome. 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.

The mission of 2BSD is to provide supports and resources to help people live more self-determined lives.

Self Determined Model

Our Action Model for Self-Determination was developed with the goal of identifying what individuals can do to increase their self-determination. Although environmental supports and barriers are highly important to self-determination, 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?
  • 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.

Know Yourself & Your Context - Value Yourself

  • Dream
  • Know your strengths, weaknesses, needs & preferences
  • Know options, supports & expectations
  • Decide what is important to you
  • Embrace all aspects of self
  • Discover/develop strengths from weaknesses
  • Recognize & respect rights & responsiblities
  • Take care of yourself
  • Develop & nurture positive relationships


  • Set Goals
  • Plan actions to meet goals
  • Anticipate possible results
  • Be creative
  • Visually Rehearse


  • Take Risks
  • Communicate
  • Access resources & Support
  • Negotiate
  • Deal with conflict & criticism
  • Be persistent

Experience Outcomes & Learn

  • Compare outcome to expected outcome
  • Compare performance to expected performance
  • Realize success
  • Make adjustments

What We Do

We are passionate about creating more self-determined lives! We have spent over 25 years conducting research on self-determination and we know what works and what doesn’t. Through our website, social media, webinars and on-site sessions, we hope to help you create more self-determined lives by

  • Telling the stories of how students, parents, teachers and others are creating more self-determined lives every day.
  • Creating and finding self-determination instructional tools and helping you learn how to use them. Our tools include assessment and curricular tools in web-based, video and print formats. If you have a need we can’t find a tool for, we can create it.
  • Providing mini-grants for self-determination initiatives.
  • Consulting on the best ways to infuse self-determination content into your program offerings. We have tools that can be used at all ages, from early childhood to college, technical school and university settings, and throughout the adult years.

If you have a need you think we might be able to help with, send us an email and we will set up a time to talk. We like to hear what people are thinking and we’ll do our best to provide information you can use to figure out your next steps, whether we’re a continuing part of your journey or not.


2BSD offers a continuum of assessment and curricular resources based on the Action Model for Self-Determination to meet the needs of children from early childhood through post-secondary education. In addition, some excellent resources have been developed by our colleagues to meet a wide variety of student needs. Some of these resources are specifically designed to teach knowledge and skills for self-determination while others are not specifically delineated as self-determination instruction but teach to many of the component skills students need to be self-determined.

"Self-determination means having the courage to chase my dreams."
“Self-determination is creating an identity based on what is truly meaningful.”
“Self-determination is persevering to reach your goals.”
"Self-determination means you can do what you want."
"Do it myself!"
"Self-determination means you really, really wanna do something by yourself.”
"Family helps me be self-determined.”
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