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Transition and Adult Life Success Stories

The stories below highlight best practices related to self-determination, access, and family engagement for transition-age students and adults who are deaf-blind. Each story provides a glimpse into the possibilities for these individuals. 

The stories help enrich our vibrant network and highlight one of our shared values, “together we are better.”


College and Work: A New Phase of My Life

Alex Steinbrick first wrote about his transition experiences for NCDB in 2018. Two years later, he provides an update about his career and college experiences after high school. He discusses the many skills he learned, the importance of supportive colleagues, and how technology has helped him along the way.

Alex sitting at a desk with computer.

Isaiah is Ready

This 2:42-minute video, produced by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI), is about a teenager named Isaiah. It includes interviews with Isaiah, his mom, and his team members as he prepares for employment and living on his own. Thanks to the Wisconsin Deafblind Technical Assistance Project for sharing this video.

Isaiah smiling

David's Journey

This story about a young man named David was written by his mother, Gwen. In it, she describes how she and David's father advocated for educational services that would help him have a good life. Most of the article focuses on transition planning and activities beginning at age 14 that prepared him for post-school work and community participation. Their goal for him was the same as for all their children, to "Learn, be happy, be engaged in your community, find something that you love, and do it!!"

A young man is pushing a cart filled with cleaning supplies.

Jason's Story

Jason is a young adult who chooses to take advantage of every opportunity that comes his way. His transition journey is filled with examples of how to overcome obstacles. Jason enjoys advocating and providing hope for other individuals who are deaf-blind. 

Jason wearing sun glasses


Alex's Journey

Alex Steinbrick, a 19-year-old with CHARGE syndrome, describes his transition journey within the public school system and discusses how he learned advocacy skills and the importance of a great educational team. The article includes six important lessons for all  students and their teams.

Alex in front of poster at conference making the thumbs up gesture.

Community Life

His Best Life: Malik Morris

Malik's mom, Djenne-amal Morris, wrote this incredible article about his transition journey. He began his education at Perkins School for the Blind, but the family later made a difficult decision to move south due to Malik's health and his need for warmer weather conditions. There he attended the Eastern North Carolina School for the Deaf. This article describes the exploration, planning, collaboration, and effort in which Malik and his family engaged to craft a meaningful adult life for him.

Young man.

Planning a Full Adult Life: Alex Black

Alex lived a full and happy life for 22 years. This article, published on the National Family Association for Deaf-Blind website, focuses on the numerous vocational experiences and services he had during his transition years that helped him learn valuable skills and have rich, meaningful interactions in the community. The article was written by Alex's mother, Molly Black, a family engagement consultant for the Pennsylvania Deaf-Blind Project and current secretary for the Pennsylvania Partnership for the Deafblind. 

High school senior photo of young adult with deaf-blindness.

Destiny Home

Destiny Home is New York State’s first community residence for individuals with deaf-blindness and additional disabilities. This article describes some of the experiences of the individuals who live there and how they have embraced a life in which they are very much a part of the social fabric of society and contribute to it in meaningful ways.

A destiny house resident and support staff restocking a vending machine.

Deafblind International Youth Network (DbIYN)

This article is an overview of the Deafblind International Youth Network (DbIYN) and its activities. DbIYN provides a platform from which young adults (ages 13 through 25) with deaf-blindness throughout the world can inspire others, share their views, develop ideas, and influence policy makers. 

DBIYN Globe logo


Covid-19 and Digital Equity for Deaf-Blind Learners: My Experience and the Importance of Self-Advocacy

Ava Bullis was looking forward to starting high school when Covid-19 hit, forcing her and her family to completely rethink how she would have access to new teachers and classes. Although adjusting to online learning was a challenge for nearly everyone, Ava has Usher syndrome, so she needed to find ways of incorporating different technologies and systems that would provide her with both auditory and visual access. Hear how the challenges of the pandemic not only led Ava to pursue technology training, but also taught her the importance of self-advocacy.

Ava Bullis standing next to American flag, smiling.

Transition Planning

Jack Barker's Transition To Adulthood: It Takes a Village

Jack is 22 and in his final year of public school. He has CHARGE Syndrome and is deaf-blind and non-verbal with significant and complex needs. His parents have worked hard to successfully navigate the labyrinth and real-world challenges of medical interventions, services, supports, and the public education system, but the journey has been an arduous one with many roadblocks and detours through fragmented systems. Like all parents, we have striven to educate ourselves in order to cultivate and exhaust all possibilities to enable Jack to obtain as many tools for his toolbox as possible and achieve the most optimal outcome.

Miranda's Journey

In this article, Suzanne Fitzgerald relays the journey a young adult named Miranda, her family, and her educational team took to build an effective communication system and prepare Miranda for work after high school. She also describes the challenges they encountered and the tenacity of this amazing young woman.

Miranda in her wheelchair

Jacob's Journey

Jacob Jones' North Carolina-based team had an opportunity to participate in HKNC’s Deaf-Blind Immersion Seminar (DBIS), an assessment and training program for individuals who are deaf-blind and have intellectual disabilities. His dad, Emrick, wrote this story about the experience.

Young adult man in restaurant kitchen wearing cooks hat and apron.

Self-Determination Videos

"What does self-determination mean to you?" Several young adults answer this question in the video clips linked here. 

When you decide and make decisions for yourself, you know what you want, and you know what you need, not another person. – Ashley


Miranda signing