Dr. Michael Ward played a key leadership role in promoting self-determination for persons with disabilities as a federal policy initiative of the U. S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services beginning in the late 1980’s and early 90’s. Many of us think of Mike as the guy who started it all when we think about self-determination for students with disabilities. We interviewed Mike to find out what he thinks about where we have been, where we are and where we need to go to foster self-determination.
Research has shown that self-determination is a powerful tool to decrease the risk of depression. A recent book by Linea and Cinda Johnson, Perfect Chaos, illustrates how important self-determination is to navigate the mental health system and manage mental health conditions after diagnosis. Perfect Chaos tells the story of Linea’s struggle with bi-polar disorder and what she, her mother and family went through to triumph over the disease.