Like with all youth, their direct involvement in transition planning is very important. Getting support and ideas from family members, teachers, local service agencies and close friends are equally important. For the most part, activities are the same for all youth. Individual youth need to make sure unique communication needs are taken into consideration related to participation and transition planning. Make sure youth have the tools (review various topics in this website) to ensure successful transition planning. Transition planning is difficult and youth need to think about many different areas as they move forward with planning. Make sure decisions are made without attitudinal or systematic barriers related to the hearing loss.
Importance of family Involvement
Every effort must be made to involve families in the transition process. Consider the youth's family values, communication needs, work preferences, and personal life style. The student's family and friends can assist with identifying goals, needs and future services. They tend to know the individual best.
Be aware of unique obstacles and barriers faced by deaf and hard of hearing youth after leaving high school
Youth and their families must understand that there are different views related to social attitudes, communication barriers and perceptions about being deaf or hard of hearing. Some of them include:
Role expectations and work ethics
Sometimes youth are naïve about the rules and behavioural expectations that control the workplace because they spend their lives exclusively in the school environment and are not prepared for the workforce
There is still much apprehension and misconception about deaf or hard of hearing people among employers. For example, some business leaders have concerns with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) because they think accommodation requirements will affect their profit margins
Not understanding health and safety accommodations
There is still much apprehension and misconception about deaf or hard of hearing people regarding health and safety in the workplace. For example, some post secondary schools and employers resist or have concerns about deaf or hard of hearing persons being forklift operators when in fact there are many deaf or hard of hearing forklift operators in Ontario.
Applying technology in the workplace
There is still a lack of awareness of using and applying technology at training centers or in workplaces. This lack of awareness applies to the youth and their families as well. Review the latest technology on CHS eStore at chs.ca
There may be some parents and transition planners who have unrealistic expectations of what youth with hearing loss can or cannot accomplish. For example, some feel that these youth should consider going on Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) for income support for life where in reality they are capable of working and/or pursuing higher education or acquiring trade skills. There are some who may be unemployable, but this should be considered as a last resort.
Transition Planning starts early and should include details relevant to hearing loss
There are already policies and procedures on transition planning in place with school boards and other schools in Ontario to assist youth who are deaf or hard of hearing. It is very important for youth to be aware of specific areas of transition crucial to their success. Some of specific details should include:
- Finding accurate information for obtaining accommodation supports for youth who are deaf or hard of hearing in the community or in some cases, assistance in community living
- More details on hearing requirement profiles on various jobs
- Making decisions on disclosing hearing loss and looking at the possible or perceived impact that may have
- Access to various deaf and hard of hearing databases or/and websites for self awareness and current trends happening among deaf or hard of hearing persons (see Resources)
- Having access to additional transition tools catered to those with hearing loss
Start volunteering or working early
As part of transition planning, it is very important that youth start volunteering or working early. An early start will help them build confidence and allow for successful life-long learning and career building. This will also help youth determine their best possible educational and career paths towards the end of high school. Working early gives youth a sense of what aspects of work they like (e.g. working outside or inside, working with people or with things, working with complex things or simple or repetitive tasks, etc.).
Look at what youth are doing now to create new nonprofits, initiatives in third world countries building wells and sustainable water systems, food initiatives, and environmental campaigns. Youth at the high school level are conducting workshops on health issues such as drinking and driving, taking an active role in community initiatives such as United Way Youth leadership, or making videos to promote the donation of blood. These experiences will provide them the groundwork in being prepared to engage in relationship building and be able to identify why higher education and employment is important.
Adapted with references: Transition Planning – Best Practices, Ministry of Children and Family Development
Family Roles in the Transition from School to Work, Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center
Checklist of Best Practices in Transition Planning, Washington Sensory Disability Services
Issues in the school-to-work transition of hard of hearing adolescents, Griffith University Australia (Renée Punch, Merv Hyde and Peter A. Creed)