The Bridge School

Self-Determination Program

Adapted Self-Determination Model

Click on the expander tabs below the image to find unique AAC components (in red) and activities addressing key self-determination skills for students with complex communication needs.

 Self-Determination Model

Adapted for Individuals with Complex Communication Needs

Know Yourself and Your Environment


Students learn to:

  • Dream
  • Know your strengths, weaknesses, needs and preferences
  • Know options, supports and expectations
  • Decide what is important to you
  • Build an awareness of your special collection of AAC tools
  • Learn about non-verbal communication and body language

Value Yourself


Students learn to:

  • Accept and value yourself
  • Use weaknesses to find strengths
  • Recognize and respect rights and responsibilities
  • Take care of yourself
  • Develop and nurture positive relationships
  • Learn how to advocate for what you want in your AAC systems
  • Learn about the responsibilities for the care and maintenance of your communication systems



Students learn to:

  • Set Goals
  • Plan small steps to meet goals
  • Anticipate results
  • Be creative
  • Visually rehearse
  • Learn about using certain communication tools for certain purposes



Students learn to:

  • Take risks
  • Communicate
  • Access resources and support
  • Negotiate
  • Deal with conflict and criticism
  • Communicate in different ways to achieve a goal, make a choice and have your opinion heard

Experience Outcomes and Learn

Students learn to:

  • Compare outcome to expected outcome
  • Compare performance to expected performance
  • Realize success
  • Make adjustments
  • Learn to self-advocate when things do not go as planned
  • Learn effective communication skills to maintain supports and social relationships
  • Monitor progress towards goals and adjust as needed