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What I did on my summer vacation and who paid for it


Greetings !

Please welcome Cynthia L. Ingraham who will be facilitating this forum topic with a snazzy title. Cynthia is a Helen Keller National Center Regional Representative serving DE, DC, MD, PA,VA and VW for the past 29 years. She has authored numerous monograph chapters on transition issues for youth with sensory disabilities as well as multiple articles on the education and rehabilitation needs of consumers with physical and sensory disabilities. She is terrific resource for capacity building within your state. In her spare time Dr. Ingraham volunteers with New Life, Inc; a wheelchair sports program for youth with physical disabilities in the Metro Washington D.C area, Habitat for Humanity, Rebuilding Together, and aging-in-place programs in the Mid-Atlantic Region. She also serves as a freelance writer for About Time Magazine, Inc; where she writes on social and educational issues within the African American Community. 

Looking forward to this discussion


Mike Fagbemi

Posted 6 Mo. Ago by Mike Fagbemi

5 184 views
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Comments (5)

Hi Mike...peer to peer learning communities vary in Region 3. Due to VR budgetary constraints, the resources are limited at the adult service level; however, for many teens who are still in school resources are more plentiful. One way to ensure students are exposed to these types of services is to place it in the IEP as a transition goal. Whether it is through the Expanded Core Curriculum or PreETS having such a goal has really helped my students. I mentioned previously that students from Region 3 participated in the HKNC summer programs last year as other students from the region have done in the past. By far, the opportunity to participate in a program with peers who are also deafblind is what many of my students tell me they most enjoyed about attending the HKNC program. Frequently, students who are deafblind are the only one or one of few deafblind students in a school district. This type of isolation can have an adverse impact on the student's ability to understand their own gifts and support needs, but to fail to develop the empathy necessary for team building on the job and sustaining friendships. While the summer programs we offer at HKNC are only the beginning for many of our students, we do offer recommendations for school personnel and family members to incorporate into the student's education program upon their return home. In many previous cases, students who attend HKNC summer programs elect to return the following summer if permitted or to enroll in our traditional program for adults upon completion of their secondary education. In addition to returning to HKNC for the quality services and 1:1 support, many students share that they learn best in an environment with their deafblind peers and staff who know how to teach, support and advise them.

Cynthia Ingraham,  EdD

Posted 5 Mo. Ago by Cynthia Ingraham, EdD

Hi Cynthia , thank you for engaging this group in this forum space. I particularly liked your mentioning of Pre- Employment Transition services. There is great promise there because it is not "more of the same" You mentioned in your response students who will take part again in ESY. Are you finding that peer to peer groups who focus on discussions around soft skills , employment options and resources as being viable ways to finding that job that meets individual interests , strengths and needs? As one of the regional reps can you comment on what is happening nationally relative to peer to peer learning communities ?

Mike Fagbemi

Posted 6 Mo. Ago by Mike Fagbemi

Hi Alexander...I am sorry to hear that you did not have a positive experience with ESY. Many schools believe that in-school ESY services must be accessed for students; however, actual ESY services can happen anywhere. In the past, I have had students who have attended specialized programs in the community or even out of state. The discussion should take place during the school year and the goals placed in the student's IEP. Have you met with your VR Counselor to see if PreETS might be something you can tap this summer or before the academic year ends? Without knowing your full story it is hard to offer specific advice, but if you are a student who has vision and hearing loss, perhaps the HKNC Regional Representative for your area can provide you with some viable options. You can always feel free to email me directly ( if you don't want to get too detailed here in this public space. I have several students who will once again take part in ESY this year and we have already begun the discussions. As you said, there are many employers out there who are willing to work with students who have disabilities. As you prepare for the future, you might want to create a resource file to help you navigate the many employment options available out there. This manual is a good resource for establishing good contacts in the community and when looking for work (

Cynthia Ingraham,  EdD

Posted 6 Mo. Ago by Cynthia Ingraham, EdD

I would like to share about my summer 2017 internship. I received and opportunity from my Job coach to spend the summer working with him to help people with disabilities find employment. I was able to learn about job sourcing ,tailoring a position for our clients and when approached many business were happy to create opportunities for our clients. We really listened to what our clients wanted to do not fitting them into a food service or retail position. I learned a lot. I learned that most businesses when asked really were open to hiring our clients. In June of 2018 we learned that Marrakech would no longer be working with me because of decisions made by the state surrounding providers. This left me with nothing for this last summer. My only option was ESY and that was total waste of my time. The summer school teacher was not meeting my needs. I informed the director however he did nothing. This is my last semester in HS and looking forward to the future ....

Alexander Steinbrick

Posted 6 Mo. Ago by Alexander Steinbrick

For many students with disabilities who do not access Extended School Year Services (ESY) these services can help mitigate students losing ground during the summer months and remaining stagnant throughout summer vacation. At the beginning of the calendar year when most of us are making New Year’s resolutions, many families are scrambling to plan summer activities and programs for their children who have disabilities. In actuality, the best time to plan is in September at the beginning of the academic year; however, if planning begins in January efforts should be consistent, intense and as broad as possible.

Professionally, this is an exciting time of year for me as I learn more about the students in my region and their aspirations. I’ve seen many creative programs funded during the summer months and hope to hear even more through this month’s discussion.

Since returning from my Christmas break, I have received half a dozen inquiries from parents, vocational rehabilitation and school personnel researching the many programs and services offered through HKNC. All of these inquiries involved ESY services, but what about those parents whose children are denied these services? I have been at this a long time and have seen many creative funding solutions used to pay for summer camps, education programs and even recreational events for students who are deafblind. While fundraising, Lions Clubs and scholarships are available if you know where to look, the ESY services through the school system should be your first stop. Even if ESY services are secured, the second place to go for support is the state vocational rehabilitation agency. As Debbie Fiderer shared last month, Pre-Employment Transition Services (PreETS) through the VR agency can offer children with disabilities opportunity to have work experiences, to explore employment options, receive career counseling, and develop the soft skills necessary for successful employment. The key point is that these services are now available at an earlier age and can continue throughout the time the student is enrolled in school. This is actually a perfect way to build essential job readiness and independent living skills over time.

Last year, three students from my region participated in HKNC summer programs. All of the students participated in our Summer Youth Vocational Program (SYVP) which focuses on the five PreETS areas that Debbi discussed last month. Two of the students also participated in our Summer Assessment Program. Their attendance in these programs made possible using ESY and PreETS funding. Each of the students returned home having learned a lot about themselves, with new friendships and a couple paychecks in their pockets! I actually received contact from one student today who is looking forward to returning this summer. It is indeed an exciting time of year as our students prepare for their summer vacations and all the learning that awaits them.
Feel free to share your students’ summer vacation stories and in the coming days I will share more of mine as well.

Cynthia Ingraham,  EdD

Posted 6 Mo. Ago by Cynthia Ingraham, EdD

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