Transition Planning for Persons with Deafblindness and MD

Change is inevitable and so we are in a constant state of transition. Our children and adults with Deafblindness and Multiple Disabilities (MD) also have to experience change. There are changes that take place i.e. changes in the environment, meeting new people, taking their own food etc. They have gone through different transitions such as from home to school, school to vocational training/ workplace, adult life, starting family etc. However, as a parent or an educator, we have to plan their transition, so that they can adapt and adjust to the upcoming change. We all need to understand that all our children with deafblindness (CwDb) and Multiple Disabilities (MD) will grow up to be young adults and that transition is a stepping stone to living independently.

Parents of PwDb & MD are usually concerned with questions like will my child ever work? Will he/she be financially independent? Will he/she have a family of their own? Will he/she be included in the community? Yes, but with timely preparations. Preparing them through a functional curriculum where various areas such as communication, orientation & mobility, socialization, independent living skills, career exploration and job skills can be developed. An Individual Transition Plan (ITP) can be developed for them keeping in mind their strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, preferences and interests. We can know this with the help of the student, family member(s), teacher and staff and those who know the child well.

By keeping all these in mind, a student’s ideal job can be identified at school and he/ she will learn prerequisite skills such as reporting on time, being aware of their responsibilities, taking instructions from the supervisor etc. in a contextual manner. Preparing PwDb and MD in the school itself will save time. Once the students are placed in a working environment it will lead to positive experiences for both the employee and the employer.

Here is a case story of Mr. X, a Young Adult with deafblindness since birth- has light perception.

Activity: Pre snack Activity i.e. making packets of groundnuts to be sold in the school during snack time.
Time of Activity: One hour before snack time
Place: Vocational Time
Persons involved: Three students aged 15 years and above with varying levels of visual impairment, hearing impairment and cognition.
Staff: Pre-vocational Teacher & Teacher Trainee
Priority Areas: Communication, interact with peers, Functional Mathematics, work

Short Term Goals:

  1. Will receive empty cones from his peer Mr. Y when he is touched on forearm/wrist.
  2. Will fill up the empty cones with a suitable measuring cup.
  3. Will pass the filled up cone to his peer Mr. Y by using suitable touch cues.
  4. Will sit at the job for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Will use appropriate communication and socialize.

Skills to be developed through this activity:

  1. Language & Communication
  2. Fine & gross motor skills
  3. Mathematics & Money concept
  4. Literacy
  5. Socialization
  6. Work habits

Outcomes: Through this activity, the student has learnt

Moreover, the students have learnt the prerequisite skills such as reporting on time, being aware of one’s own responsibility, taking instruction from the supervisor, asking for help, making a social circle among the peers and making a positive working environment. Students can also be engaged in different kinds of job-related skills as per their abilities such as cleaning table, packing hairband, making jewellery, arranging the lunch bags, filling water, cleaning house, sorting vegetables.

All her achievements have been possible because of the timely preparation and proper transition. She received support from her parents, family members and teachers. In the same way, if we all support them by making changes in the environment, providing required assistive devices, modifications and adaptations, changes in attitude of other people, and involving required professionals.

Just like Helen Keller said “My share of work may be limited, but the fact that it is work makes it precious”. No person is expected to complete the task but the small task that they could contribute is worth all the effort.

Mercy Chingnunmuang- Training-Officer, Sense International(India)
Sukrati Rastogi- Programme-Officer, Sense International(India)

Edited By
Sonia Gervasis- Communication Officer, Sense International(India)

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