change in order to adapt the environment such that students are provided the support needed to lead productive lives. In addition to these core features, PBS also utilizes a three-tier system of increasing support. Primary supports are provided to 80-85% of the student body. These supports are generally implemented in environments such as the cafeteria, hallways, or recess. Secondary supports are provided to 10-15% of the student body, and tertiary supports to those in the 5-10% who present the most challenging behaviors (Sailor, Dunlap, Sugai, & Horner, 2008). Along with reducing problem behaviors and teaching desired behaviors, the PBS approach is structured to address plans for a student’s future. It is an approach that merges values regarding the rights of people with disabilities with practical application of how learning and behavioral change occur. The principal goal of PBS is to improve the daily lives of students and their support providers in home, school, and community settings (Hallahan, Kaufman, & Pullen, 2009; Turnbull, Turnbull, Wehmeyer, & Shogren, 2013). PBS is supported by recent mandates, including the 1997 amendments to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which call for the use of functional behavioral assessments and positive supports and strategies (IDEA, 2004).
Self-Determination Individuals who are in control of their lives, those who make sound decisions, solve problems, set attainable goals for themselves, and regulate their behavior are viewed positively by most cultures. They are considered to be self-determined individuals. These are volitional acts on the part of an individual to maintain or improve his or her quality of life. Ryan and Deci (2000) are most closely associated with self-determination theory. They propose that self-determination
imagine 5(1), 2014
encompasses three innate psychological needs— competence (feeling a sense of achievement), autonomy (feeling in control), and relatedness (feeling safe and secure with other people). They postulate that these needs, when satisfied, can lead to self-motivation, physical and emotional well-being and, if not satisfied, can lead to physical and even mental illness. Research documents positive outcomes for children with disabilities who have learned skills related to selfdetermination—positive outcomes for their social development, academic development, and well-being. Although many children learn to become more independent and acquire the knowledge and skills associated with self-determination implicitly, other children require more guidance and instruction. Providing for self-determination is essential for successful transition in school and throughout life, but can it be taught? The concept of self-determination in the psychological literature and subsequent research led to the development of definitions, strategies and the development of specialized published curricula. Wehmeyer is cited frequently for his work promoting selfdetermined behavior in children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. For purposes of education and rehabilitation, he states that “self-determination is 1) best defined in relationship to characteristics of a person’s behavior; 2) viewed as an educational outcome; and 3) achieved through lifelong learning, opportunities and experiences” (Wehmeyer, 1996). Music therapists can make appropriate transfers to their settings for young children from his curriculum, The Self-determined Model of Instruction (Wehmeyer, Palmer, Agran, Mithaug, & Martin, 2000). Palmer and colleagues (2014) and others (e.g., Brotherson & Weigel, 2008; Erwin & Brown, 2003; Shogren & Turnbull, 2006) provide strong arguments for nurturing self-determination early in life and stress the importance of family-teacher partnerships, working together for meaningful outcomes across early childhood settings and homes. When included in the curricula, Palmer and her colleagues caution that “it would be developmentally inappropriate for preschool-age children to be expected to exercise independent choices,
The focus of imagine 2014 is on family-centered practice – a trend taking hold in music therapy circles worldwide. While many practitioners...