Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Educational Specialist (EdS)


Department of Graduate Psychology


Deborah Kipps-Vaughan

Ashton Trice

Tiffany Hornsby

Darius Green


Self-advocacy is a critical skill for effective communication and for individual assertion of interests, needs, and rights (Hengen & Weaver, 2018). It is especially important for people with disabilities to be able to self-advocate, which includes understanding their own abilities and rights and being able to voice when they need assistance or when their rights are being violated (Hengen & Weaver, 2018).

Even though self-advocacy has been determined to be a necessary skill for students with disabilities to develop, research indicates that self-advocacy instruction is often not provided to students with disabilities. Furthermore, while researchers have shown that teaching students to participate in their IEP meetings helps to prepare them to be successful self-advocates after high school (Barnard-Brak and Lechtenberger, 2009), there is often inconsistent inclusion of students in their educational planning meetings. Thus, there is a need to identify supports for developing self-advocacy skills in students with disabilities.

This research project reviewed the literature to inform the development of a mixed-methods survey to examine school psychologists’ perceptions and experiences in supporting students with disabilities’ self-advocacy skills. The results indicate school psychologists recognize self-advocacy skill development as a critical tool for students with disabilities’ success; however, several barriers exist which prevent school psychologists from directly supporting students in this area.

Kiarra Steer Thesis Final 2.pdf (334 kB)
with completed edits



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