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2017 Midwest Transition Institute-Friday Morning

SPECIAL NOTE: What follows are brief highlights about the activities of the Transition Institute for Friday, July 14th.  Pictures will be shared soon - either here or at another site. I'll let you know where you will be able to enjoy all of the visual highlights of this exciting adventure.

Friday morning: Ten families (including 12 young deaf-blind adults) from six states registered to attend the Race for Your Dream Transition Institute. With all of the volunteers, presenters and staff, there were close to 80 people attending. What a wonderful opportunity for everyone to gather in one place and to share and learn together.

Bryen Yunashko started the morning activities with a presentation on "Empowerment and Identity". Bryen is a deaf-blind advocate from Illinois. His message focused primarily on the importance of deaf-blind young people advocating for themselves and identifying themselves as members of a deaf-blind culture. He used examples from his own life to help the youth understand more about his own journey. He also shared information on several aspects of communication, including the use of Tactile and ProTactile Sign.

Jill Gaus, from Michigan, also shared helpful information about Haptics, a method of communication developed in Norway during the 1800's that uses the sense of touch to convey information, through signals, about such areas as action, food, drink, and learning more about your environment. More about Jill later as she offers a session on Saturday geared specifically for families.

For the Friday afternoon session, everyone traveled by buses to the ISU Sycamore Outdoor Center, about 20 miles from Terre Haute. Lunch was served and then the young adults began an afternoon adventure of outdoor activities that included a number of challenges. While I did not get to see their activities, I did see one student "fly" by the window I was near- I believe he was zip-lining! I'll try to get more information on that activity soon. I understand the student landed safely!

Family members stayed in the activity center for an afternoon of learning more about the educational transition process. Mimi Huybers, a parent representative with Indiana's IN*SOURCE parent information training center provided lots of information about the high school transition process as well as sharing helpful resources with the families. Mimi also then moderated a panel of three Indiana parents who shared their experiences about their own three children and their transition experiences. Each parent answered questions on several topics and issues like advocacy, vocational training, volunteering, academics, social activities, community involvement, and, "I wish I had known". . . The session was lively and informative, with laughing and much head nodding as panel members shared their stories with the families. Family members had the opportunity to ask questions and share some of their stories.

I know this is a long entry but I wanted to just give everyone an idea of how jam-packed the day was with such great information. 

More later . . .

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