The path that every child takes is unique. While some pursue higher education after graduating from high school, others advance directly from classroom to career. Regardless of the path, the goal is to make sure he or she graduates with the skills needed to be successful after high school.
For deaf and hard of hearing students, transition services play an important role in building the knowledge and skills they will need to achieve this success. These services go beyond academics to help students to learn about themselves, their rights and responsibilities, how to navigate communication between deaf and hearing individuals, practice using innovative technology, and explore careers that are aligned with their interests, abilities and skills. Transition services are designed to help students become self-sufficient and thrive as independent and contributing members of their communities. This approach empowers students to become ALL Ways Able.
Transition Planning – Starting Early
Just as early intervention helps set young children up for success in preschool and beyond, starting the transition planning process at age 16, or younger if necessary, helps set students up for success. By guiding students through self-discovery, exploration of rights and responsibilities, career exploration, and post-secondary planning for continued education and/or employment, they become self-advocates and self-determined individuals. Through this process, students become well-informed and ready to make important decisions about their next steps post-high school. As part of transition, we also support students in their connection to state agencies for pre-employment skills and adult services.
We teach students from an early age how to advocate for their individual needs. Our program fosters these skills by providing role models, leadership training, effective communication, access to various assistive technology, and participation in planning/leading their own IEP/PPT meetings. Being a self-advocate enhances their confidence and self-esteem, laying the foundation for a successful transition out of high school.
Job Opportunities for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students
Preparing students for jobs is an important part of the transition process and of the American School for the Deaf’s Transition Services Program. This includes not only helping to gain an awareness of the different types of jobs available, but providing opportunities to learn from hands-on work experience in real situations in which communication skills are practiced face-to-face and/or through telecommunication systems. Through this process, we have helped students uncover their passions and strengths, leading to careers in internet technology, childcare, auto technology, manufacturing and the medical field.
After students complete their high school requirements, up to age 21, our students have the opportunity to participate in a transition-only program, called the Transition Hub (T-Hub). This unique program for deaf and hard of hearing young adults coordinates work experience and real-life practice in financial literacy and self-advocacy skills. Students are community-based for a portion of their day in employment and community service experiences with non-deaf co-workers and supervisors through a diverse range of business and community partnerships. Depending on individual need, job coaching is faded and students are involved in real-life situations such as being an effective and responsible employee, opening and managing a bank account, using public transportation, shopping and making meals, and other independent living skills to prepare them for post-school life. All of the American School for the Deaf’s transition services are aligned with the Connecticut State Department of Education’s standards.
At the American School for the Dead, both deaf and hard of hearing students develop the confidence they need to successfully transition into life after high school. They are exposed to challenging academics, rewarding extracurricular activities, and the opportunity to build strong relationships with their peers and mentors on campus. Participating in transition services allows them to fill any knowledge and skill gaps that may limit their success, ensuring that the education, experiences, and supports they have received collectively allow them to be ALL Ways Able.