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Our Keynote Speaker: Dr.  John McNaught


 Exploring Self-Determination: Using Theory to Guide Practice


Through this presentation, Dr. McNaught offered implementation strategies for practitioners, families, and youth with disabilities of all ages to build the foundational self-determination skills needed at home, at work, and in the classroom to ensure a positive post-school outcome.

Learning Objectives:

  • Define Self-Determination Theory
  • Define and give an example of Autonomy in the classroom, jobsite, and home.
  • Define and give an example of Competence in the classroom, jobsite, and home.
  • Define and give an example of Relatedness in the classroom, jobsite, and home.

Dr. McNaught has been working in the field of special education for over 20 years. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Richmond, his Master of Education Degree from James Madison University and his doctoral degree in School Improvement with a focus on Special Education from the University of West Georgia.  He started his career at a residential wilderness school for at-risk youth and youth with emotional disabilities. John also worked in a public high school as a special education teacher and supervised a community based work-study program for students with disabilities. Dr. McNaught was one of the first individuals in the state of Virginia to implement student-directed IEP meetings, and he worked diligently as an educator to bring the student’s voice to the forefront. For the past sixteen years, John has worked at the Virginia Department of Education’s Training and Technical Assistance Center at James Madison University as a coordinator, focusing on transition and self-determination and as co-director of the center for the past eight years. John is a founding member of the Virginia Department of Education’s I’m Determined Project and has served as the Principal Investigator for the past thirteen years. Under his leadership, I’m Determined has grown from 9 pilot schools to over 90 participating school divisions in Virginia and over 40 states across the nation. John is currently the Immediate Past President of CEC’s Division on Career Development and Transition.


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