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Teens and young adults, who are deaf, deafblind, or hard of hearing, are a diverse group.  Hearing levels, language, social and academic skills as well as challenges accessing information and systems are shared experiences, yet unique to each person.  This group also has different support systems and needs than younger school children.  For teens and young adults, ages 14 to 21, the Individual Education Program (IEP) includes transition-focused goals, related services, adaptations, and transition activities. However, the type of activities or goals may be different depending on their school, community, and family experiences.  Some students participate in a transition program to extend their school support time.  Other students graduate and go to work and/or college/training programs.  However, all of them need information about post-school services, including vocational rehabilitation, disability services, and their rights under the  Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  

Who this impacts

  • Teens and young adults who are deaf, deafblind, or hard of hearing
  • Parents and families 
  • Teachers
  • Vocational rehabilitation counselors
  • Disability services in post-secondary education/training programs
  • Future employers


The Minnesota Commission of Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing (MNCDHH) recognized those challenges and, through the Collaborative Plan stakeholders, created documents, webinars and information sharing to help make the transition smoother. The Collaborative Plan work group for transition-aged students developed the following:  Minnesota Transition Guide for Teachers of Deaf/Hard of Hearing.  The goal for this guide is to help parents, teachers and other IEP teams to plan for transition activities and to provide information to help students develop skills for after graduation.  The website is hosted by the University of Minnesota.  Teachers and vocational rehabilitation counselors can also earn continuing education units (CEUs) when they complete the webinars.  Young adults who are deaf/hard of hearing also shared their experiences during the webinars.  Stories about their experiences are highly valued.

A Guide to Adult Services was also developed.  This Guide includes information about housing, employment services, financial support, lifelong education, transportation, healthy living, advocacy and support for finances and independent living.  The tab on the website is also smart-phone friendly, so parents and young adults can find information on any device, at any time.  

In the spirit of true collaboration, funding for this project was provided by Minnesota Commission of Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing, PEPNet 2, Minnesota Department of Education, and Department of Employment and Economic Development which also includes Vocational Rehabilitation Services.

Who was involved?

  • Cynthia Carlson-Paetznick, Anoka-Hennepin School District
  • Mary Cashman-Bakken, MN Department of Education
  • Pearl Devenow, Intermediate School District 917
  • Jay Fehrman, Northeast Metro Intermediate District 916
  • Ann Hanson-Hobot, Anoka-Hennepin School District
  • Katie Huttemier, St. Paul Public Schools
  • Elise Knopf, MN Dept of Employment and Economic Development 
  • Greta Palmberg, Intermediate School District 287
  • Anna Paulson, MN Commission of Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing
  • Jayne Spain, MN Department of Education
  • Dann Trainer, University of Minnesota, Minnesota Association of Deaf Citizens
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