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Southeast Family Deafblind Transition Institute

2012 SE Teens and Mentors with Motivational Speaker, Cody Colchado


The southeast regional deafblind projects along with The National Consortium on Deafblindness and Helen Keller National Center partner to offer a unique opportunity for tomorrow’s leaders.  The annual weekend transition institutes support teens and young adults with deafblindness to plan for the future, develop friendships and community, and become self-advocates.  Youth 15 years of age through 22 years of age with both vision and hearing loss and a formal communication system,  who are on a career path to work, technical school, or college are invited to apply.  Presenters who are positive role models and young adult mentors with deafblindness address topics related to transition, technology, self-determination, social skills and self-advocacy.  Separate sessions are offered to the parents featuring transition issues and opportunities to share their experiences.

 Youth Outcome Goals

  • Increase self-awareness

  • Develop more appropriate transition goals for post-secondary education and employment

  • Expand social networking, involvement  and service in the deafblind community with more defined roles in national agendas and organizations

  • Develop leadership and mentoring skills

Long-term Outcomes

Many of the mentors with deafblindness started attending the Annual Southeast Family Deaf-Blind Transition Institute as teens.  As a result of on-going participation, several have expanded their leadership skills by becoming involved in other projects and programs, including:

  • Participation on planning committees for future transition institutes, including the Southeast Regional Institutes  and the national American Association of the Deaf-Blind Conference Young Adult/Youth Strand

  • Presentations and facilitation of training sessions at various events

  • Application and acceptance into Deaf-Blind Young Adults in Action:  participating in the policy process in Washington, DC (i.e. supporting the legislation for the 21st century telecommunications law; articulating the need for Support Service Providers); meeting congressmen and senators culminating in an invitation to the oval office to meet with President Obama.

  • Participation at the 9th Annual Helen Keller Deaf-Blind Conference in Uganda, Africa, including visiting schools for the deafblind in Africa.

  • Participation in Costa Rica with Global Explorers and in Europe with People to People Student Ambassadors.

  • Successful college and employment experiences


The teens develop action plans at the end of the weekends and are interviewed about the skills they learned as a result of their participation.  Below are some comments from the teen interviews and evaluations:

  • I will advocate for myself and be my own person.

  • I am not going to let anything big or small get in my way to achieve my goals.

  • I want to improve my English to become a journalist.

  • I will keep a resume of my community involvement.

  • Volunteering and a well done interview can help a person get a lot closer to getting a job.

  • If there is a meeting regarding me, I should be there.

  • When I go to college, I will contact the disabilities office.

  • Technology and knowledge can help a person be successful in life.

  • I learned how to explain to people what my needs are to gather equal information as others.

  • What a wonderful world it really is!  And that there are wonderful people in this world who really care.


If you are a Texas teen with both a hearing and vision loss or if you know a teen, which meets the requirements and has the desire to learn self-determination and leadership skills, you may self-nominate or nominate someone you know by:

  • Contacting Jenny Lace or Brian Sobeck at Texas Deafblind Project: ,512-206-9389 or , 512-206-9225

  • A nomination form will be sent to you, which you can submit for review by a committee consisting of the Texas Deafblind Project and deafblind adults.  We will let all teens and their families know if we can accept their application.  Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions.

Jenny Lace
Education Consultant Deafblind Outreach
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