Self-determination skills such as self-advocacy and self-awareness have the potential to increase successful secondary and postsecondary outcomes for students with disabilities. A 20- year longitudinal study by Raskind, Goldberg, Higgins, and Herman (1999) found that six attributes, including self-awareness and use of support systems, were more powerful predictors of students’ post-school success than any of the demographic variables examined in their research (IQ, socio-economic status, age, gender or academic achievement).
Thoma and Getzel (2005) interviewed successful postsecondary students with varied disabilities to identify which skills are important to support success in postsecondary educational settings. These students with disabilities identified “problem solving skills, learning about oneself (and one’s disability), goal setting and self-management” (p. 237). Thoma and Getzel noted an additional theme from the interviews indicating young students would benefit from information about other successful adults with disabilities, information about disabilities, accommodations, and available resources. Goldberg, Higgins, Raskind, and Herman (2003) in their qualitative study of success predictors found that the adults with disabilities who were characterized as successful had the ability to understand their disability as only a part of their identity, and not the defining attribute.