Conceptualizing Self-Determination from a Behavior Analytic Perspective

Stephanie Peterson
4.40 out of 5
(5 customer reviews)


BCBA CEUs: 1 Total CEU | 1 Ethics CEU

The common educational goal of fostering self-determination in individuals can pose a challenge for behavior analysts due to its abstract nature, making it hard to define, observe, and measure. However, by conceptualizing self-determination through tangible behaviors associated with choice, self-control, and self-management, it becomes possible to operationalize and teach these skills. This approach allows behavior analysts to collaborate more effectively with other service providers. This presentation from the 2021 Michigan Autism Conference delves into these concepts.

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We found that in most cases, people consider the goal of education to be developing a self-determined individual. Self-determination is an abstract term. Behavior analysts may find this term difficult to define. Therefore, it may be difficult to observe and measure whether “self-determined behaviors” have developed. Many other service providers use this term frequently; thus, behavior analysts working with these service providers must come to terms with this concept in order to better collaborate. We argue that self-determination can be operationally defined with the concepts of choice, self-control, and self-management. By using the measurable behaviors included in these concepts, we believe that services can be developed to teach self-determination skills. This presentation, based on a paper published in 2020, explores these concepts and how they can contribute to an operational definition of self-determination, and ultimately, help behavior analysts work with other providers to effectively teach self-determination to individuals with developmental disabilities.

About the Speaker

Dr. Stephanie Peterson is chair and professor for the Department of Psychology at Western Michigan University, as well as a member of the behavior analysis faculty. She earned her doctorate in Special Education at The University of Iowa in 1994. Her primary research interests are choice making, functional communication training, reinforcement-based interventions for children with problem behavior, and concurrent schedules of reinforcement in the treatment of severe problem behavior and in functional analysis of problem behavior. She also has interests in applications of behavior analysis to educational interventions and teacher training. She currently serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and is a Senior Editorial Consultant for Education and Treatment of Children.

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5 reviews for Conceptualizing Self-Determination from a Behavior Analytic Perspective

Based on 5 reviews
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  1. Avatar

    One of the best Ethics CEUs presentations I’ve experienced. Excellent content and organization of it.

    (1) (0)
  2. Avatar

    Good topic

    (0) (0)
  3. Erica Lehman

    The presentation was somewhat technical. Applied case examples would have been really helpful. That said, the presentation was exceptionally well organized.

    (0) (0)
  4. Avatar

    Very informative!

    (0) (0)
  5. Cristina Rigual

    Awesome module very informative.

    (0) (0)

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A portion of the proceeds from this module goes directly to the Michigan Autism Conference

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Dr. Stephanie Peterson
Conceptualizing Self-Determination from a Behavior Analytic Perspective
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