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2017 Midwest Transition Institute - Saturday

Jason Corning started the Saturday morning program with his informative presentation titled, “On the Move”.  With all of the deaf-blind youth seated in front of him, he told his interesting story. Jason is from Wisconsin and was born deaf-blind. He has both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees and he is employed at the Department of Defense, living near Washington D.C. Jason used a metaphor about climbing a mountain to describe his story. His message emphasized the importance of building a network of resources and connections. Jason, throughout his talk, urged each of the deaf-blind youth to have high expectations for their own success and to set goals for achievement. He also encouraged each of the youth to make sure they not only used technology to develop their networks but to also really make sure they developed “human networks”.  Those networks will pay off throughout their lifetimes. 

Saturday also provided time for the deaf-blind youth and their mentors to participate in some role playing activities. The youth were given a scenario of a young deaf-blind woman who was preparing to interview for possible employment. The narrator of the scenario described a number of different scenes, then stopped after each scene and asked the deaf-blind youth in the audience for their suggestions as to what could be done differently to improve the interview situation. The young adults offered lots of good suggestions and it was an informal and fun opportunity for everyone to do some good problem-solving.

While the youth were involved with the role playing, families met separately with Jill Gaus, a deaf-blind adult from the Michigan Deaf-Blind Project. Jill shared her story and answered many questions from family members. Her message about having a positive attitude despite roadblocks along her journey was a common theme. Throughout her time with the families, she stressed the importance of making sure that their children were always aware of their own accomplishments and felt good about their many strengths. The information she provided about resources and accommodations as their deaf-blind youth go through transition also was great for the families who listened to Jill.  

A Resource Fair also was part of the day’s activities. Eight vendors were available to share resources about their agencies and companies. It was good to see the deaf-blind youth attend the Fair on their own, asking their own questions about resources. Family members also had an opportunity to visit during a different time during the day. 


The end of the day was spent developing action plans with and for each young adult. State project staff from each of the six participating states helped with the development of the action plans. While the action plans are just the beginning for each of these remarkable young people, they were encouraged to use what they learned during the weekend to refine and add to their individual action plans.

I know this is another long post and my apologies but I wanted to share what I feel was an energizing and exciting weekend for these remarkable young people and their families.  

More later . . .


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Karen Goehl
(author) - 07-23-2017 at 11:56pm

Oops! My apologies for a typo in the first paragraph. I meant to say emphasize rather than deemphasize about Jason's advice to the deaf-blind youth regarding expectations. Again, my apologies.