Students with learning disabilities have a unique need to acquire self-advocacy skills and an attitude of self-determination to facilitate their successful completion of secondary school, as well as to enable them to transition to college and the workplace. The following paper considers the issues of learned helplessness and locus of control with regard to the need for direct instruction in self-advocacy skills and other skills leading to self-determination for students with learning disabilities. Included are the results of a needs assessment survey conducted in grades 7-12 of a suburban school district. Forty-two students with learning disabilities were administered a survey that assessed (a) self-awareness of disability, (b) knowledge of the special education process, (c) knowledge of rights under the law, (d) attitudes and skills related to goal attainment, and (e) locus of control. An increased level of knowledge regarding issues related to self-advocacy and self-determination was found to be positively correlated with an internal locus of control. There was no correlation found between age and internal locus of control as is usually found with nondisabled populations. The results of this project support the need for direct instruction in self-advocacy skills for students with learning disabilities.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Learning disabled teenagers--Education; Special education; Autonomy (Psychology); Locus of control
Department, Program, or Center
Department of Psychology (CLA)
Izzo, Connie, "Self-advocacy and self-determination skills in middle school and high school students: A Transition needs assessment for the East Rochester Union Free School District" (1998). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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