Self-Determination for Autistic Students

Earn 1 hour of continuing education by joining OT Potential after taking this course.

Self-Determination for Autistic Students with Dora Onwumere

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Self-determination interventions are linked to positive academic and functional attainment results—and, most compellingly, can improve post-secondary outcomes. 

But what does it look like for OT professionals to foster self-determination in the school setting? 

In this one hour course, we’ll breakdown a scoping review that examines the Independence Curriculum, which is designed to enhance middle-school-aged autistic students’ self-determination. The results are improvement in: 

  • Self-determination
  • Goal attainment in:
    • Executive functioning
    • Self-regulation

After we break down the article, we’re delighted to welcome the article’s lead author, Dora Onwumere. She and I will discuss the practical implications of this research for OTs. 



Intro (5 minutes)

Breakdown and analysis of journal article (5 minutes)

  • 00:00:00 OT for Middle School Autistic Students
  • 00:00:54 Intro to OT Potential Podcast
  • 00:02:40 Functional Skills: A Persistent Gap for Autistic Students
  • 00:03:33 Self-determination and Functional Skills
  • 00:04:50 Intent of this Research
  • 00:05:23 Research Methods
  • 00:06:26 Research Results
  • 00:07:40 Discussion and Implications for OT Practice
  • 00:08:25 Research Conclusion

Discussion on practical implications for OTs (with Dora Onwumere) (50 minutes)

  • 00:09:21 Dora Onwumere Intro
  • 00:12:11 How Dora First Found OT
  • 00:15:03 Working as a School-based OT
  • 00:18:34 Transitioning to Research & Middle School Checklist
  • 00:29:20 Development of the Independence Curriculum
  • 00:33:58 The Importance of Self-determination
  • 00:40:24 Incorporating Self-determination Goal in an IEP
  • 00:42:54 Assessments + Middle School Checklist
  • 00:45:09 Independence Curriculum for OT Sessions
  • 00:48:04 The Future of this Work
  • 00:50:57 Advice for Fellow OTs?
  • 00:54:34 Occupational Therapy is…
  • 00:54:53 A Moment in Therapy You’ll Never Forget
  • 00:57:29 Final Thought from Dora
  • 00:58:47 Conclusion
Example OT Potential Club podcast course certificate.
Earn 1 hour of continuing education

1. Listen to the podcast for free.

2. Sign up for the OT Potential Club.

3. Pass the quiz and download your certificate!

Primary Journal Article Explored

When you log in, be sure to check out the OT Potential Club’s written breakdown of the following research article. Then, share your questions and thoughts with fellow practitioners.

Supporting Research and Journal Articles

Supplemental Materials

Self-determination assessments

Learning Objectives

  • You will be able to recognize the importance of self-determination when planning OT interventions for autistic middle school students. 
  • You will be able to identify assessments you can use to support self-determination. 
This course on Self-Determination for Autistic Students is AOTA approved!

This course is an independent/self-study course delivered via podcast on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play & more. Explore your listening options on the OT Potential Podcast page.

If you need accommodations to take this course, please contact us and we will address your needs on an individual basis.

If this course were to be canceled, please see our cancellation policy on our terms page.

In order to receive a certificate for this course, you must first listen to the podcast in its entirety. Then, you will need to take the test (found at the top of this page) and earn 75% or higher. If you pass, a certificate will be automatically generated and sent to your email.

Target Audience/Educational Level

Our target audience is occupational therapy practitioners who are looking to learn about Self-Determination for Autistic Students.  The educational level is introductory.

Financial and Non-financial Disclosures

It is the policy of OT Potential to disclose any financial and non-financial interest the provider or instructor may have in a product or service mentioned during an activity. This is to ensure that the audience is made aware of any bias of the speaker.

We here at OT Potential have no financial stake in this topic. Our guest, Dora Onwumere, also has no financial disclosures.


Dora Onwumere MS, OTR/L

Self-Determination for Autistic Students with Dora Onwumere

Dora Onwumere is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Occupational Therapy at New York University Steinhardt School.

Dora holds a Master of Science degree in occupational therapy from New York Institute of Technology (with distinction) and a Bachelor of Science degree from Stony Brook University with a concentration in Healthcare Management. Read full bio.

Sarah Lyon, OTR/L

Sarah Lyon, OTR/L

Sarah’s passion is helping fellow OT practitioners translate evidence into daily practice. Sarah earned her BA in religion from St. Olaf College, then earned her master’s degree in occupational therapy from New York University in 2011.

Since then, she’s worked in numerous facilities, including a critical access hospital, an acute trauma hospital, and a state inpatient psychiatric hospital.

Sarah is the founder/owner of OT Potential. Read more about OT Potential here.

This course was designed to meet your continuing education requirements

We designed the courses in the Club to meet the requirements for “online” and “independent/self-study” courses. For more details read our blog post: Can I earn OT CEUS from a podcast? To verify the requirements from your specific state (within the US), check out our post, OT Continuing Education Explained. If you are outside of the United States and have questions, please contact us.

We are proud to be an AOTA Approved Provider and to meet the requirements for your NBCOT renewal.

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