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Jan 1

Photos and Videos - Midwest Transition Institute 2017

The photos and videos from the Transition Institute –Race for the Dream are wonderful. They will make you smile and be proud! You can view them on Facebook or Twitter #Race4YourDream or Instagram #MidwestTransition2017. Enjoy!!


Jan 1

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 . . .


Jan 1

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 . . .

Jan 1

Race for Your Dream! 2017 Transition Institute

July in Indiana: Hot, Sticky, Stormy, Cool, Dry, Sunny! Yep, that about describes our weather.  No matter the weather, this weekend will be one of excitement, learning, socializing, sharing and connecting. The 2017 Transition Institute begins today, July 13th and ends on July 16th. This year, the Institute is hosted by the Indiana Deaf-Blind Services Project and is being held at Indiana State University in Terre Haute. The weekend is designed for deaf-blind teenagers and their families who are coming together from several states to listen to inspiring deaf-blind presenters, meet with mentors, enjoy a variety of fun-filled and well-planned activities and learn about lots of resources. Everyone will find out more about the world of transition as these young adults work to access their dreams as they move from high school to college or employment.

Stay tuned for stories about this exciting weekend filled with activities and fun!



Nov 3

Interesting Newsletter

The California Deafblind Services Project recently issued their Spring 2016 newsletter. I encourage you to take a look. There are a number of interesting articles that will appeal to families and service providers alike. One article that I found especially interesting and important is the one that talks about the deafblind citizens in action organization founded in 2010. I encourage each you to go their website ( and read more about this remarkable group.