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Deaf-Blind Immersion Experience : Focus on the person - capacity & long term supports

Transition

Greetings !

The needs of deaf-blind young adults with additional disabilities continue to challenge educators , families and our db network. I am excited to introduce Michael Richards who brings tons of experience and expertise serving db individuals with complex needs. 

Michael is the Coordinator of the Deaf-Blind Immersion Experience (DBIE) which was once a pilot and is now a full time department since October 2018.He has a long history working with HKNC beginning in 1992 Michael began his career as an instructor in the Living in Functional Environments (LIFE) program serving db individuals with communication , behavior and independent living needs. Michael would later supervise the PATH program where they provided individualized person centered instruction for individuals with additional disabilities.When the PATH program was shuttered he served as a program adviser HKNC'S integrated community residence called Destiny House. Michael before taking on this new position supported evaluation in the effective Community Services Program.

When thinking about the Deaf-Blind Immersion Experience, Michael says , " I am excited and honored to be able to revive and the revise the training what we previously offered to people who are deaf-blind with intellectual disabilities. The department is a vital part of empowering these individuals, their families and support teams. I am committed to ensuring that each person and their team is offered essential tools to further develop their preferred lifestyle in their home, work and community.

Please feel free to jump into this conversation , ask questions , make comments and request resources.

Thanks everyone for your time and energy



Mike Fagbemi

Posted 3 Mo. Ago by Mike Fagbemi

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Comments (20)

I also missed this and am happy to hear it will be offered again soon.

Christa Gicklhorn

Posted 18 Days Ago by Christa Gicklhorn

Hi Jennifer, the issue may have been time zones. Michael is on the East coast so the time was EST. Next time, this will be important to note the time zone to accommodate in the other regions of the country. Winkie.

Beth Jordan

Posted 20 Days Ago by Beth Jordan

Hi Jennifer ,
Sorry , im just getting this now . The webinar took place today at 11 am. However, we will be offering it again, soon, on HKNC's platform and I will let you know the date. If you have any questions , please feel free to contact me at michael.richards@hknc.org

Michael Richards

Posted 21 Days Ago by Michael Richards

Hi Michael,
I have on my calendar that there is a webinar tomorrow at 11:00 on DBIE. Has this date changed, or is there any updated information for us to join this webinar?

Jennifer Walkup

Posted 22 Days Ago by Jennifer Walkup

I'm so glad that you asked this question, Mike. There is a great deal to be said on this topic. Two thoughts of mine that are paramount to this are : that behavior is communication, and that there are no pat answers.
That being said, we do provide strategies to assist teams to support the focus person in this area.

Two of the crucial strategies we provide for managing behavior is alternative communication and teaching methods and person centered planning.
Person-centered planning is vital in this area because it helps the team to discover who their person is, what their individual needs are, and what works and doesn't work for them. Sometimes, the focus person has a person-centered plan, but it may need updating and other times their is none and we help the team to initiate that plan. This is a proactive strategy that can help create a positive environment.

The alternative communication and teaching strategies are also proactive in nature. For people with less formal language , object symbols can be used to express choices, and make their desires known. An example would be a person becoming upset and self injurious because they do not have an idea of what is next in their schedule (this often happens) . Setting up a tactile schedule with object symbols representing their daily activities would help to reduce the self injurious behavior. We also pair tactile sign language with the object symbols.

Using teaching strategies such as partial participation enables a person to still engage in a task/activity but to be supported by staff when their tolerance level is reduced. Staff ascertain when their tolerance is waning and intervene by having the person manually track them as they perform the task. This is also a proactive strategy that helps create a positive behavioral environment.
One final thought - though I could go on and on about this topic- as staff or any team member build a rapport with the focus person, they will be more able to predict tolerance levels and see precursors to self injurious or other behaviors. Setting up the environment to reduce those situations is on the staff. Its always better to increase expectations (at work or at home) on the focus person gradually- even its just work for a few minutes and then finish on a positive note. If a person engages in a negative behavior , that should never end the task immediately. Always attempt to have them do at least one more of the task so as not to reinforce negative behavior.
Please, everyone, feel free to chime in with your thoughts or experiences. thanks





Michael Richards

Posted 2 Mo. Ago by Michael Richards

Thanks Michael - I appreciate your detailed response. I have another question; inevitably the focus person in the immersion experience will rely on behavior to communicate. Do you provide strategies that will assist families , sponsoring agencies and schools on how to support the focus person with self-management ?

Mike Fagbemi

Posted 2 Mo. Ago by Mike Fagbemi

Thank you , Mike
Excellent question.
As we plan each DBIE , it is often months in advance of the actual week long experience. Pre-employment Transition Services is paired with person centered planning to create an effective lifestyle assessment. Job exploration and self advocacy occurs via a strong team approach and via person centered planning. The team supports the individual in discovering their preferences and strengths for employment. Once those preferences and strengths are identified, the DBIE team sets to work on matching community based vocational sites where real work based assessments can happen. This past week we worked with a young lady who had situational work assessments at the HIlton Hotel in laundry services and at the GAP, folding and organizing clothing. The self advocacy is nurtured by the team as the individual learns to make choices in employment and in all areas of life. As for workplace readiness, assessment and training is provided in communication, daily living skills, mobility and technology , all necessary components for the person to be successful in employment.
This past week, our individual set up braille communication cards and has already been using them. Her family just emailed me and let me know she already started using her braille personal routine cards !
These will set her up for more independence as she transitions into the adult world of work .
Hope this sheds some light on the question of Pre -ETS and our DBIE program.
I think of our program as assisting families and teams to support their individual in creating a customized life
Thanks

Michael Richards

Posted 2 Mo. Ago by Michael Richards

Thank you so much Christa ! We look forward to being able to serve your students from Perkins. Keep in mind, it is always beneficial for families and teams to begin transition planning as early as possible. We often start the planning phase of DBIE months in advance of the actual week long immersion experience.

Michael Richards

Posted 2 Mo. Ago by Michael Richards

Great news! The DBIE department addresses a much needed support for our students and their families who struggle after returning home to NY after being placed out of district for education. Glad to hear this is now a full-time department and will certainly share the news with our students and families nearing transition and who are planning to return home to NY after graduation.

Christa Gicklhorn

Posted 2 Mo. Ago by Christa Gicklhorn

Michael , thinking about funding the DBIE training efforts : What is your experience with Pre-ETS when strategically planning DBIE activities.
thanks

Mike Fagbemi

Posted 2 Mo. Ago by Mike Fagbemi

Good morning, all !
Mike , thank you for your question. It is our goal to serve three people monthly. The DBIE can also be brought to the individuals home area. We have worked with teams in their home area and that has been practical and effective.
We anticipate, in the long term , that we will be able to have additional DBIE programs in other states that can serve individuals near their homea areas. We would serve as the model and provide needed training to professionals motivated to offer this much needed service.

Michael Richards

Posted 2 Mo. Ago by Michael Richards

Thank you, Michael.

Sheri Stanger

Posted 2 Mo. Ago by Sheri Stanger

Hi Sheri
Great question. We serve people of all ages. We have worked with a few transition age high school students as well as older adults.
A team needs to be at least two people who are working with the individual. This could be a teacher, job coach , group home manager or staff , other DD staff and / or family.
Since our purpose is to educate the staff , as well as the individual, the more people that can be on the team , the better.
So far, we have had a range of two to five people in the teams.

Michael Richards

Posted 2 Mo. Ago by Michael Richards

Michael , thank you for leading this discussion. How many students a month are you hoping the DBIE program could serve? Unfortunately most of the young adults with additional disabilities will not be able to come to the center to benefit from the program. What do you all envision for building local capacity ? I am thinking systems change.

Mike Fagbemi

Posted 2 Mo. Ago by Mike Fagbemi

Hi Michael. What age group does this program serve? Do you need to still be in school with an education team to access this program or can you already be in the adult service world? If so, then what would constitute a "team"? Thanks.

Sheri Stanger

Posted 2 Mo. Ago by Sheri Stanger

As many of you know, Person-Centered Planning is our cornerstone philosophy here at HKNC. Many individuals have a person-centered plan , but for our people with additional disabilities , keeping that plan "alive" and translating those preferences into meaningful activities is essential. It demands that staff and family be detectives to determine preferences and develop matching activities. We will discuss examples of this throughout the upcoming weeks. To begin, please see the short poem I wrote years ago , that touches on choices, "voices" and being tuned in to one's preferences and communication.

Selection is Perfection

Let's start to move in the right direction.
Your role is to be detectives,
My goal is to express my electives!
Through sign, gesture or object cue,
I'll let you know what I wanna do !

As I make my choice, please listen to my "voice"
Please tune in to my station.
Whether i'm expressing joy or frustration,
Sadness or jubilation- just tune in -
And feel my SELF DETERMINATION !

Michael Richards

Posted 2 Mo. Ago by Michael Richards

Thank you, Rowena !
I'm excited about offering ways to help engage people in communication and conversation with people who have things they want to express, just in different ways

Michael Richards

Posted 2 Mo. Ago by Michael Richards

Looking forward to the Webinar, Michael!
Thank you!

Rowena Barker

Posted 2 Mo. Ago by Rowena Barker

Hi everyone !
I'm excited to inform you about our upcoming Webinar, entitled "Inclusive Communication". In this webinar, inclusive communication for people who are deaf-blind with additional disabilities will be discussed. Alternative communication strategies will be introduced and demonstrated. It is hoped that you will be enabled to further empower the people you are communicating with by offering them functional ways to express themselves.

This webinar will air on April 30 at 11:00 am. More information will follow soon.
Hope you can participate !

Michael Richards

Posted 3 Mo. Ago by Michael Richards

Welcome everyone !
I just want to offer you some more information about our Deaf-Blind Immersion Experience. We provide assessments and training tailored to each person and their team, emphasizing a person-centered, functional approach to learning. We offer tools to help the person and their team continue developing their preferred lifestyle in the domains of home, work and community.
Our assessment includes an individualized approach to Pre-employment Transition Services (PRE-ETS) encompassing job exploration counseling, work based learning, workplace readiness training and self advocacy.

It sounds like a great deal to accomplish in just a week ! But , don't worry we actually start working with the person and their team before the actual week, via phone conferences and email. Upon completion of the program, you will have a lifelong connection with us through our Community of Practice (COP) which meets on a quarterly basis to offer support and exchange resources.

Please feel free to post our comments and questions ! Would love to hear from you. Thanks !

Michael Richards

Posted 3 Mo. Ago by Michael Richards

NCDB : The Research Institute : Western Oregon University : 345 N. Monmouth Ave. : Monmouth, OR 97361
Contact Us: 800-438-9376 | info@nationaldb.org

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