• Examining the Efficacy of the Empowered Curriculum of Self-Determination for Adolescents with Visual Impairments

      Fesenmaier, Daniel R.; DuCette, Joseph P.; Rotheram-Fuller, Erin; Connell, James; Thurman, S. Kenneth (Temple University. Libraries, 2011)
      Students with visual impairments represent less than one-tenth of one percent of the total student population (Ferrell, 2005) yet require skills in self-determination that are prerequisite to accessing the core academic curriculum. Self-determination reflects "a combination of skills, knowledge, and beliefs that enable a person to engage in goal-directed, self-regulated, autonomous behavior" (Field, Martin, Miller, Ward, & Wehmeyer, 1998, p. 2) and "involves knowledge of self and the environment, decision-making, problem solving, goal setting, personal advocacy, communication skills, self-control, and knowledge of how to interact with the environment to achieve desired outcomes" (Cleveland et al., 2007, p. xi). Unfortunately, students with visual impairments are often denied the opportunities to learn these fundamental skills, thus denying them an appropriate education as outlined via federal initiatives such as The Rehabilitation Act Amendments and IDEA 2004. The purpose of the current study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the Empowered Curriculum, a comprehensive, experiential program designed to improve the self-determination skills of adolescents with visual impairments. Thirty secondary students with visual impairments participated in the study. Pre-intervention and post-intervention measures that addressed self-determination skill acquisition, self-esteem, and self-concept were provided to the students. Students were assigned to either an experimental group or a control group. The results suggested that the students who received the intervention did not improve their self-determination skills, self-esteem, or self-concept. Future directions are discussed.