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SouthEast Regional Transition Institute 2013
SouthEast Regional Transition Institute 2013
This page was last updated on Jun 24, 2014 at 11:35 am
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The South Carolina Interagency Deaf-Blind Project, as a part of a multi-state effort in the southeast, hosted the annual Southeast Regional Institute in February, 2013. The theme of the institute was "I have a plan!" The young adults with aspirations to be college and career ready rolled up their sleeves with positive energy and enthusiasm. Their plan to be college and career ready could not be achieved without the support of families, siblings, teachers and deaf-blind mentors who were all invited to participate in this event.
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Dana Tarter (pictured in middle) was invited as the featured keynote speaker. Dana a teacher in the Georgia school district shared her story with the families, providers and young adults who participated in this institute. Dana a terrific college athletic lost her vision but not her way. She tells an inspirational story about a part of her life in which she learned new things about herself in the face of adversity and the life lessons learned that provided her with opportunities for a successful life.
Agenda and Activities
The young adults participated in a panel discussion in which four youth mentors shared their stories of challenges, triumphs and learning lessons. The young adults and their families participated in what was a terriﬁc session of questions and answers about college classes, access, advocacy, and employment and transportation issues. The youth mentors who had attended previous institutes as participants used humor and real life experiences which turned out to be a great educational experience for families and teachers. The young adults enjoyed the keynote speaker Dana Tarter who is now a special education teacher. Dana lost her vision in the middle of college in which she was on an athletic scholarship for softball and needed to learn Braille and tactile signing if she wanted to become a successful adult. Dana’s message of preparing for life’s challenges through preparation, perseverance and self determination was one of inspiration. The deaf-blind project staff facilitated an activity in which the young adult and family members completed a transition checklist related to a student’s preferences and capacity to live independently. This activity was a valuable learning experience for the young adults who were not aware of some of the things that living independently entails and what type of supports might be necessary to be successful. The deaf-blind project staﬀ facilitated separate panel discussions targeting families and young adults to discuss their dreams, hopes and expectations for the future. The learning experience for the families was buttressed by the positive inﬂuences and experiences of the youth mentors who in the words of a family member “I never thought my child with limited vision and hearing could become somebody that an employer sees value in. I have been wrapped up in all the things he cannot do and that needs to stop." The deaf -blind project staff facilitated individual strategic planning sessions with each family and young adult with the goal of developing an action plan to incorporate into their IEP’s.The action plans would identify the outcomes and the various supports that would be needed for it to be successful.
The importance of deaf-blind mentors in the role of presenters can never be understated. What better way to inspire and educate youth with disabilities then to have a message of self determination, advocacy and access promoted by peers who have experienced similar challenges. The deaf-blind mentor panel offered the opportunity for family and youth participants to hear the story of these three young adults who had college and work experiences to highlight individual challenges and triumphs.
DB Mentors( Kevin Tiffany Jake)
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The path to a successful transition experience and outcome requires the support of families, teachers, and service providers. This institute oﬀered many opportunities to make this happen. The youth mentors were instrumental in demonstrating that seeing goals, experiencing setbacks, and moving forward anyway is possible for anyone regardless of the disability. The young adults and their families I believe let this institute with a new network of friends, experiences and energy that will make a diﬀerence in each of their lives.
In the video above a parent shares her perspective about attending the transition institute.
Pictures and Videos
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Click here to read about the 2012 Southeast Transition Institute.