Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


School Psychology

Degree Granting Department

Educational and Psychological Studies

Major Professor

Kathy Bradley-Klug, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Robert Dedrick, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Julia Ogg, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sarah Kiefer, Ph.D.


504 Plan, ADHD, IEP, school psychology, self-advocacy, self-determination


Self-advocacy for persons with disabilities involves demonstrating knowledge of oneself and knowledge of rights afforded to individuals with disabilities through one's communication with others and leadership skills. These self-advocacy skills are significantly associated with positive outcomes after high school for students with a range of disabilities. However, knowledge of elementary students' self-advocacy skills is limited. One reason for this lack of evidence is that a psychometrically sound instrument designed to measure the cumulative skills within the self-advocacy construct did not exist. The purpose of the current study was to create a measure of self-advocacy skills that can be used with elementary students identified as having ADHD: the Self-Advocacy Measure for Youth (SAMY). Seventy-six parents/caregivers of elementary school youth identified as having ADHD and an IEP or Section 504 plan were included in the preliminary validation study. Analyses of their responses provided initial support that the items included in the SAMY fit the theoretical construct of self-advocacy as no items were indicated for removal or modification. Strong internal consistency was indicated for the Total Scale (α = .93) and subscales (Knowledge of Self, Knowledge of Rights, Communication and Leadership Skills α = .87, .87, .79, and .84 respectively), and test-retest analyses based on 20% of respondents (n = 14) provided evidence for the reliability of the interpretation of Total Scale (r =.865, p < .01) and subscale scores across one month of time. The theoretical framework, principal components analysis, and parallel analysis supported four-, six-, and two-factor measurement models, respectively, indicating the need for additional research prior to determining the most appropriate model for interpreting the SAMY scores for youth identified as having ADHD. A moderate correlation (r = .47, p < .01) between overall scores on the SAMY and on the American Institutes for Research Self-Determination Scale (AIR) provided evidence of discriminant validity. An independent t-test indicated no significant difference in the Total Scale scores for students with an IEP (M = 49.66, SD = 19.75) compared to students with a Section 504 Plan (M = 52.54, SD = 16.52); t(74)=0.68, p = .50); similar analyses performed for each subscale revealed no significant differences. A statistically significant difference existed between the Total Scale scores for students in grades K-2 (n = 23; M = 41.57; SD = 14.30) compared to students in grades 3-5 (n = 53; M = 55.08; SD = 18.41; t(74)= -3.13, p = .003) based on independent t-tests. The Pearson correlation coefficient revealed a significant, moderate correlation between school level and SAMY Total Score, r =.34, p < .01. This positive correlation between overall self-advocacy skills and elementary school level supported the theoretical progression of self-advocacy skill growth mirroring overall development. Implications for school psychologists and suggestions for future research are discussed.