Could it really be time to investigate summer transition programs and services for your transition-age student or young adult who is blind or has low vision? Yes! Those steamy months wrought with extra time for preparing your young person for adulthood—independent life, college or career school, and the workforce—are around the corner. To help you streamline the search for the right transition program and pre-employment transition services (Pre-ETS), APH and its partners bring you the APH ConnectCenter Transition Hub.
APH ConnectCenter Transition Hub
You’re busy; we know! To help make the search for a transition program simpler and quicker, visit the APH ConnectCenter Transition Hub. It’s a one-stop, easy-to-use, searchable resource of transition programs and services across the United States.
You’ll be able to quickly investigate state schools for the blind, blindness vocational rehabilitation agencies, and partner nonprofit organizations that offer transition-specific programs for teens and young adults. You can even customize your search by local state; program type; cost, if any, to your family; program language; or whether the program is year-round or seasonal.
We encourage you to bookmark the page and visit it frequently; the APH ConnectCenter Transition Hub resource list is growing!
Getting Youth Involved
Better yet, consider involving your teen or young adult in the search for a transition program! Lisamaria Martinez, a consultant with the APH ConnectCenter Transition Hub, suggests encouraging your young person to plan for their transition services by asking them to research three programs they’d like to potentially participate in this summer to better prepare for college or adult life.
Your teen or young adult can utilize the APH ConnectCenter Transition Hub to search for local programs and determine which is the best fit; alternatively, they can search for specific services in lieu of an official program.
Want a few examples? Middle and high school students can find a braille challenge, year-long transition services, and a summer program where they can meet peers who are blind or visually impaired, learn independent living skills, and explore a variety of careers. College students can locate transition services such as Youth Employment Services (YES) or Summer Work Experience Programs (SWEP) and a summer transition program near their college campus that they can attend prior to the start of college in order to bolster their Orientation and Mobility (O&M), cooking, and studying skills. Young adults can search for programs, experiences, or workshops which best meet their individual needs.
Yes, the aforementioned opportunities are all transition services.
The APH ConnectCenter Transition Hub’s Lisamaria Martinez shares, “We’re expanding what transition programming looks like. We used to think of transition services like college or employment readiness with pre-employment skills to include vocational rehabilitation, technology, resume writing, and job interviewing. But because blind and low vision youth don’t have the same opportunities as their sighted peers, transition services need to expand to include orientation and mobility (O&M) and independent living skills. You have to be able to navigate to/from work and job interview sites…and you have to do so confidently. You have to navigate college campuses with new courses each semester. Independent living skills are also critical because you have to cook for yourself, have good hygiene, and dress for success.”
Whichever services your teen or young adult needs in order to be equipped for a smooth transition to adulthood, the APH ConnectCenter Transition Hub can help you connect to them; it has your back!
If you are a rehabilitation or transition counselor or a teacher working with transition-age youth who are blind or low vision, join the National Transition Conversation on May 19, 2022 from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM Eastern, and learn how programs across the country are supporting the college, career, and community transitions of blind and low-vision youth. Click here to register.