Self-Determination: Tools for Direct Support Staff

Product TypeContact Information Ordering Information 
 Trainer's Guide or Manual,  
  Elizabeth Thorin
  Phone: 541-343-4747  
  Product Page on the
  IRIS Educational Media

Resources for: Professionals | General

Elizabeth Thorin, Ph. D.
IRIS Educational Media
Publication Date: 2004
Cost: $199 hard copy or $29/user/month for online subscription

Direct Support Professionals


Goal-setting, Self-advocacy, Decision-making, Independent Living

Increases Use of Personal Skills, Helps Identify Personal Preferences, Promotes Choice-making

Future Planning, Relationships, Self-directed Services & Supports


This toolkit gives support staff the strategies necessary to handle situations that arise while working with adults with disabilities. It offers solutions to various scenarios at the workplace, in the home and in the community through a "What Would You Do"? section. It also advises staff how to promote self-determination in persons with disabilities through videos involving decision-making, future planning and relationships. By utilizing these videos, support staff and families will be able to better handle challenging situations and be able to better assist those with disabilities to live a full life of their choosing.

How the Product was Developed

Content was derived from published and unpublished resources; refined through focus groups of direct support staff, people with disabilities, and family member; and reviewed by experts in self-determination research.

How the Product was Implemented

Direct support staff

A/V Equipment

The Extent to Which the Product has Been Used

A Viewer Guide provides an overview of the content of the four programs on the DVD, and of the three styles of providing support for people with disabilities. The fifth section of the DVD shows 24 vignettes, each ending with the question: What would you do? The Viewer Guide includes possible responses to each vignette for each of the three styles of support, wit ha summary of how each response supports or hinders self-determination.

The Extent to Which the Product or Approach has Been Evaluated


  • Pre-post outcome studies



The product was evaluated through a randomized two-group pre-post design with 200 direct support professionals showing a significant increase in knowledge of support for self-determination.


Resources for: Professionals | General