State Projects Collaborate in Transition Initiative Launch

Posted on October 10, 2014


Susanne Morgan Morrow – New York Deaf-Blind Collaborative

Those of us who work in state deaf-blind projects have long been aware of the poor transition outcomes for young adults who are deaf-blind.   To create a more proactive approach to teaming and transition planning, the New York Deaf-Blind Collaborative (NYDBC) designed an interdisciplinary transition planning model and piloted it in the state in 2012.  The model incorporates evidence based practices for young adults who have combined hearing and vision loss, their families and educational team members. The model requires that these players all come together to identify and support the goals of the young adult.  Teams then participate in a series of on-site and distance meetings and monthly web-based meetings supplemented with transition planning activities to assist the team in moving forward.

The model has now expanded to a partnership with 18 state deaf-blind projects to be implemented over the 2014-2015 academic year.  The partnership requires each project to “recruit” at least one transition team from their state comprised of members who will be instrumental in learning effective transition planning practices. On September 17th, the Interdisciplinary Transition Team Initiative formally launched with 60 energetic and exuberant participants.  

Hosted by the New York Deaf-Blind Collaborative, the event began as a virtual meeting in Adobe Connect, requiring plenty of bandwidth, humor and patience.  New York also had three onsite teams in various parts of the state participating.  In all:

  • Eighteen state projects and their transition teams joined in via Adobe Connect from the northeast and southeast regions and scattered Midwestern states.
  • Teams were comprised of families, educators, school administrators, and adult service providers.
  • Interpreters were a part of the accessibility plan.
  • Two families from New York shared their experience through the transition planning process, speaking to the critical need of collaboration.
  • Offline structured activities & discussions were facilitated by state projects with their local teams in the afternoon breakouts.
  • Teams completed group self-assessments to identify needs.

 Webinar screen with S Morrow and Interpreter          Screen show of webinar with C Berg and interpreter

Staff from each of the state deaf-blind projects have committed to the following throughout the initiative:

  • Identifying young adults within their state along with the family and appropriate team members.
  • Participation in scheduled strategic planning meetings.
  • Participation in monthly web-based meetings addressing transition related content. 
  • Providing technical assistance at various levels; universal, targeted and intensive, where needed.
  • Collect change of knowledge, awareness and satisfaction data.

All team members are expected to commit to the following throughout the initiative:

  • Participation in two large-scale face-to-face sessions & monthly web-based meetings for content.
  • Adherence to goals outlined in the Technical Assistance Agreement.
  • Completion of monthly transition planning tasks as a team.
  • Participation in face-to-face transition team meetings as needed (negotiated with state DB project).
  • Collaboration with the student’s family.
  • Participation in an online Community of Practice facilitated on the NCDB website.

Through the use of a private group on this site, the initiative aims to encourage stakeholder engagement across the miles and even across state lines. The intention is to utilize distance technology to identify challenges, share successes, cull resources, build strategies and, basically, see what we can accomplish together in this medium. By addressing transition planning from a simultaneous top-down/bottom-up approach the intention is to impact both systems change and significant child change in the lives of students who are deaf-blind and their families.

We are looking forward to the year ahead and we believe that this approach to technical assistance is more likely to impact a larger scale of stakeholders throughout each of the participating states, enhance collaboration outcomes, create a smoother IEP planning process and enhance self-determination behaviors.  We hope to host a drop-in webinar sometime early in the new year, to share progress and perspective. 

Comments (2)

This work is a great example of the power of Deaf-Blind TA Network collaboration. The leadership provided by the New York Deaf-Blind Collaborative, and the partnership of another 17 states, serve as an example of the benefit and value of working together to address common challenges. NCDB looks forward to continuing our support of this effort, and very much encourages other states to look for the knowledge, wisdom, and resources being shared by these 18 states.

D. Jay Gense

Posted Oct 16, 2014 by D. Jay Gense

This is an exciting venture and I am proud that Florida will pilot this initiative with 6 teams; 3 in West Palm Beach, 2 from Florida School for Deaf and Blind and one from St. John's County. We look forward to supporting the young people to move forward on their transition journey to achieve their dreams! Several Teachers of the Visually Impaired from Broward County, some administrators from Vocational Rehabilitation, Dade Schools, the Lion's Club Conklin Center and the Pasco Lighthouse for the Blind will also audit the webinars to improve their services to transitioning young adults. We are proud of the strong push toward College and Career Readiness!

Emily Taylor-Snell

Posted Oct 15, 2014 by Emily Taylor-Snell

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