Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Special Education

Major Professor

Ann Cranston-Gingras, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Brenda L. Walker, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Constance Hines, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Deirdre Cobb-Roberts, Ph.D.


Autonomy, Parental Involvement, Psychological Empowerment, Self-Realization, Self-Regulation


The purpose of this study was to examine the role that self-determination played in the transition process for young African American women with disabilities who exited high school with a special diploma and participated in a local transition program. Factors under study included the young women's autonomy, self-regulation, psychological empowerment, and self-realization (Wehmeyer, 1996).

This examination of the perceptions of the transition process of young African American women with disabilities involved in-depth interviews with five young women and their parent or guardian. Additionally, The Arc's Self-Determination Scale (ASDS) and the Parent Self-Determination Practice Survey (PSDPS) were administered to determine the level of self-determination of the young women as well as the level of parental promotion of self-determination. Results showed that the young women were able to use self-determination in a variety of settings. Three of the five student participants demonstrated high levels of self-determination as measured by the ASDS when compared to the normative sample. Also, the parent or guardian of the young women provided multiple opportunities for the young women to practice self-determination in their homes and employment settings. Furthermore, the young women discussed several factors that they perceived to be strengths and challenges to using self-determination throughout and beyond the transition process. The findings have implications for school systems, social service agencies, and parents and guardians.