Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. John Kregel

Second Advisor

Dr. Chin-Chih Chen

Third Advisor

Dr. Christine Walther-Thomas

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Carol Schall


Even with current transition practice and service delivery requirements mandated for students with disabilities by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA, 2004) participation in postsecondary education and employment for individuals with autism remains low (Shattuck et al., 2012; Newman, Wagner, Cameto, & Knokey, 2011). The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of the Self-Determined Learning Model of Instruction (SDLMI; Wehmeyer, Palmer, Agran, Mithaug, & Martin, 2000). The intervention was designed to facilitate student development, and participation in community college course settings, increase academic and vocational goal attainment and self-determined behavior while decreasing support needs. The SDLMI has been shown to be effective for teaching students with disabilities how to access the general education curriculum and increase self-determination skills to achieve academic and vocational goals. A multiple probe design across participants with four college-aged students with autism evaluated the effects of the intervention for three different postsecondary education goals. Study findings show the extent to which the intervention affects participants’ ability to be more self-determined in their decision-making regarding the management of postsecondary educational goals and course requirements using self-directed learning. The SDLMI Teacher’s Guide for Model Implementation (Shogren, Wehmeyer, Burke, & Palmer, 2017) and teacher-facilitated procedures (National Technical Assistance Center on Transition, 2017) were used to ensure intervention implementation fidelity. The researcher and trained research assistant compared real time data in point-by-point agreement ratios to quantify the number of times the observers agreed about what they saw in each observation to determine differences during data collection. The baseline, intervention, and maintenance sessions lasted 13 weeks, and data were collected during all sessions. Results from the intervention effects showed a functional relationship (cause-effect) between the intervention and goal attainment. Participants increased their ability to use self-determined behaviors to attain goals through student questions, teacher objectives, and educational supports. Self-determined behaviors increased while support needs greatly decreased. Social validity data were collected through student self-monitoring using goal attainment scaling and parent perspectives to inform support intensity results. Factors related to self-determination, motivation, and expectations for future goals contribute to a better understanding of goal attainment through this research.


© Meredith M. Moates

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Date of Submission