How does the Self Determination helps in success?

Define success for yourself.

People define success in many ways. Several successful people with disabilities use these words:

• Success is defined by who we are, what we believe in, and what we think it means to be successful. For some it is money; for others it could be relationships, family, jobs, religion, or education. I believe that success is reaching my own personal dreams. I'm not done with my dreams, but know that I have been successful so far because I've worked toward my goals regardless of my disability. (college student who is deaf)

• Success is possessing the capability for self-determination. Self determination is the ability to decide what I want to do with my life, and then to act on that decision. (high school student who is blind)

• A successful life is one where I can be actively engaged in creative activities that make a contribution to the lives of others. Success is a kind of by-product and NOT an end in itself! (professor who is blind)

• To me, having a successful life is being able to do things independently for myself, and not always have someone there to do things for me. It's achieving my goals on my own terms and at my own pace.

Understand your abilities and disabilities. Play to your strengths.

People with disabilities who consider themselves successful generally accept their disabilities as one aspect of who they are, do not define themselves by their disabilities, recognize that they are not responsible for their disabilities, and know that they are not inherently impaired. They recognize their responsibility for their own happiness and future. Below are insights from successful people with disabilities:

• My personal opinion about disabilities is that everyone is disabled. It just so happens that there is a certain group whose disabilities are more obvious than others. (high school student with mobility and visual impairments)
• My parents helped me learn to accept responsibility for myself by treating me the same as my siblings. They gave me the same punishments and chores, and they expected me to do well in school. (high school student with speech, hearing, mobility, and orthopedic impairments)

• Do not make people feel sorry for you or pity you. Get people to view you as an able person who is capable of anything within your reach if the doors of opportunity are open. (graduate student with a hearing impairment)

• Clearly disabilities can be obstacles. However, they ought to be focused on as obstacles which problem solving can surmount. Sometimes trade-offs do exist. I once wanted to go into biochemistry, but my lack of fine-motor skills and general distrust of lab partners made me realize that I wanted something I could do on my own—hence, history-philosophy. Perhaps I could have found adaptive technology to help me in biology and chemistry, but I had other loves as well, so I went for them. Admittedly, I rerouted, but for those who are determined to be biochemists and such, most obstacles can be overcome by abilities. (college student with mobility impairment)

• Focus on the ABILITY in disability more than the dis. If we can do that, then we are more apt to succeed. Also, know your limits. If you don't know what you can or can't do, how do you expect other people to know? Plan for success by using more of the cans than the cant’s.