Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Education Policy, Planning, and Administration

Committee Chairperson

Heather Schugar, PhD

Committee Member

S. Christy Hicks, PhD

Committee Member

Elizabeth Foster, PhD


This mixed methods study examined self-determination at a summer sports camp for youth with visual impairments. Athletes responded to questionnaires regarding their perceptions of their own self-determination across home, school, and camp settings; goals they set; and their experiences throughout the week of camp. Coaches answered similar questions concerning opportunities for athletes to practice and learn self-determination skills at camp. Five athletes also participated in interviews about their understanding of self-determination in the camp setting. A repeated measures ANOVA on the composite scores of AIR Self-Determination Scale (Wolman et al., 1994) across home, school, and camp settings revealed athletes were statistically significantly more confident in their self-determination skills at camp (M = 26.6, SD = 3.33) compared to at home (M = 19.1, SD = 5.76) and at school (M = 19.2, SD = 5.21), p < .001. Through qualitative survey responses, questionnaires, and interviews, athletes reported that the camp setting created an emotionally-safe environment to practice self-determination skills through fostering positive relationships between coaches and athletes at camp, providing emotional support, and promoting inclusion with respect to visual impairment. This research will contribute to the literature surrounding teaching self-determination skills to young people with visual impairments and has implications for classroom learning. In particular, low staff-to-student ratios, access to adapted sport, options to follow one’s own interests throughout the day, and goal-setting are all aspects of the camp environment that educators can adopt to promote self-determination in school.