Transition and Adult Life Success Stories
The stories below highlight best practices related to self-determination, access, and family engagement for transition-age students and adults who are deaf-blind. Each provides a glimpse into the possibilities for these individuals.
The stories help enrich our vibrant network and highlight one of our shared values, “together we are better.”
Jack Barker’s Transition to Adulthood: It Takes A Village
Jack is 22 and in his final year of public school. He has CHARGE Syndrome and is deaf-blind and non-verbal with significant and complex needs. His parents have worked hard to successfully navigate the labyrinth and real-world challenges of medical interventions, services, supports, and the public education system, but the journey has been an arduous one with many roadblocks and detours through fragmented systems. Like all parents, we have striven to educate ourselves in order to cultivate and exhaust all possibilities to enable Jack to obtain as many tools for his toolbox as possible and achieve the most optimal outcome.
His Best Life: Malik Morris
Malik's mom, Djenne-amal Morris, wrote this incredible article about his transition journey. He began his education at Perkins School for the Blind, but the family later made a difficult decision to move south due to Malik's health and his need for warmer weather conditions. There he attended the Eastern North Carolina School for the Deaf. This article describes the exploration, planning, collaboration, and effort in which Malik and his family engaged to craft a meaningful adult life for him.
Planning a Full Adult Life: Alex Black
Alex lived a full and happy life for 22 years. This article, published on the National Family Association for Deaf-Blind website, focuses on the numerous vocational experiences and services he had during his transition years that helped him learn valuable skills and have rich, meaningful interactions in the community. The article was written by Alex's mother, Molly Black, a family engagement consultant for the Pennsylvania Deaf-Blind Project and current secretary for the Pennsylvania Partnership for the Deafblind.
Destiny Home is New York State’s first community residence for individuals with deaf-blindness and additional disabilities. This article describes some of the experiences of the individuals who live there and how they have embraced a life in which they are very much a part of the social fabric of society and contribute to it in meaningful ways.
Isaiah is Ready
This 2:42-minute video, produced by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI), is about a teenager named Isaiah. It includes interviews with Isaiah, his mom, and his team members as he prepares for employment and living on his own. Thanks to the Wisconsin Deafblind Technical Assistance Project for sharing this video.
In this article, Suzanne Fitzgerald relays the journey a young adult named Miranda, her family, and her educational team took to build an effective communication system and prepare Miranda for work after high school. She also describes the challenges they encountered and the tenacity of this amazing young woman.
Alex Steinbrick, a 19-year-old with CHARGE syndrome, describes his transition journey within the public school system and discusses how he learned advocacy skills and the importance of a great educational team. The article includes six important lessons for all students and their teams.
Jacob Jones' North Carolina-based team had an opportunity to participate in HKNC’s Deaf-Blind Immersion Seminar (DBIS), an assessment and training program for individuals who are deaf-blind and have intellectual disabilities. His dad, Emrick, wrote this story about the experience.
Jason is a young adult who chooses to take advantage of every opportunity that comes his way. His transition journey is filled with examples of how to overcome obstacles. Jason enjoys advocating and providing hope for other individuals who are deaf-blind.
Deafblind International Youth Network (DbIYN)
This article is an overview of the Deafblind International Youth Network (DbIYN) and its activities. DbIYN provides a platform from which young adults (ages 13 through 25) with deaf-blindness throughout the world can inspire others, share their views, develop ideas, and influence policy makers.
This story about a young man named David was written by his mother, Gwen. In it, she describes how she and David's father advocated for educational services that would help him have a good life. Most of the article focuses on transition planning and activities beginning at age 14 that prepared him for post-school work and community participation. Their goal for him was the same as for all their children, to "Learn, be happy, be engaged in your community, find something that you love, and do it!!"
"What does self-determination mean to you?" Several young adults answer this question in the video clips linked here.
When you decide and make decisions for yourself, you know what you want, and you know what you need, not another person. – Ashley