Fostering the Foundations of Self-Determination in Early Childhood: A Process for Enhancing Child Outcomes Across Home and School

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Early childhood practitioners can play a vital role in the development of early self-determination in partnership with families. Self-determination has been generally considered to be about personal agency or control that can also relate to the quality of one’s life. Young children with disabilities start to develop a range of critical skills such as engagement and self-regulation that will be needed throughout their lives. These are the early foundational skills that lead to later self-determination. This paper describes a simple four-step process and key features of foundations of self-determination in early childhood, a collaborative process focusing on home–school partnerships. The unique alliance between each dyad (i.e., family member and early childhood practitioner) support child outcomes across naturally occurring routines at home and school. Each family and practitioner dyad uses attainable short-term goals embedded in home and school routines, intentional adult cues, and environmental modifications to promote foundational skills of self-determination in young children with disabilities.



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