GSAP sponsors two weekend events each year for teens and young adults and their parents. One event, usually in the fall, is held in Georgia and is for Georgia teens only. The second event, usually in winter, is planned with other deafblind projects in the southeast including Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Mississippi. This Southeast Regional Teen Retreat is held in a different host state each year and brings together 20-25 young people for a fun weekend.
These events are designed to help build leadership skills, and encourage self determination and self advocacy while providing opportunities for making friends and having fun. Presenters at these retreats are often deafblind adults who provide information and inspiration to teens and challenge them to take an active role in planning their future.
Parents get a chance to talk with other parents of teens who are deafblind and get valuable information on issues of transition. In the past, parent sessions have covered establishing wills and special needs trusts, navigating the changes in SSI when children become adults, using Vocational Rehabilitation and Helen Keller Nation Center resources, and Person-Centered Planning.
At all teen and young adult events, support service providers (SSPs) are provided for all young people in attendance. SSPs help facilitate communication between signers and non-signers, help explain what is going on, and help with travel for those who need sighted guide or some help getting around in a new place. Interpreters and assisted listening devices are also provided to make sure everyone has full access to the weekend.
Teens and young adults ages 14-22 who have both vision and hearing losses and who plan to transition to college, technical school or work are invited to attend the retreats. Teens under 18 years of age must be accompanied by a parent. Parents of all teens and young adults are encouraged to attend.
2013 DB Teen and Family SE Regional Transition Institute, Feb. 15 â€“ 18, 2013 by invitation
Click here to view the Video: Teen Institute Deafblind Young Adult Weekend
AADB National Conference in Kentucky, June, 2011!
The Southeast Regional Teen Group sent representatives to the National American Association for the DeafBlind (AADB) Conference this summer instead of holding the usual winter weekend retreat. The AADB Conference was held in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky, June 19-23.
Friday-Sunday, November 5-7, 2010
Arrive Friday, November 5th between 5:00-6:30pm
Depart Sunday, November 7th at 11:00 am
6391 Roosevelt Highway, Warm Springs, Georgia 31830
The Georgia Sensory Assistance Project (GSAP) in collaboration with state Deafblind Projects from Florida, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas held a Teen Retreat in Macon, Georgia, January 16-18, 2009 at the Georgia Academy for the Blind. Twenty-seven teens and young adults with vision and hearing loss attended the weekend event for a chance to meet and socialize with other young people and be inspired by dynamic presenters who are deafblind. Kim Powers Smith, former host of the Emmy award winning TV show â€œKim's Worldâ€ and frequent presenter on advocacy for persons with disabilities encouraged the young adults to be self advocates and take an active role in making decisions about their future. Jason Corning, a college junior from the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater, worked with participants on using sites like Facebook and My Space to do social networking, and gave tips on giving presentations to help others understand deafblindness. Fifteen family members attended and learned about services offered by Vocational Rehabilitation and the Helen Keller National Center, and were encouraged to make their children active participants in the transition process.
One highlight of the event was a panel of young people and adults with deafblindness who talked about their experiences in college, at work, and in the community and the barriers and supports they have encountered. Matthew Roush from Atlanta and Virginia Jordan from Athens, both veterans of GSAP teen events, were panel members, as were Leigh Russell, from the Georgia Association of the Deaf Blind (GADB), and Kim Paulk, an adult with deafblindness who lives in Macon. Other highlights included a fun evening of bowling, dancing and karaoke, and a chance for the teens to share their talents in music, martial arts, and painting.
GSAP would like to recognize people and organizations who helped plan and execute the event. Dr. Dorothy Arensman and Mr. Frank Reynolds at the Georgia Academy for the Blind for allowing us to use their facilities and taking such good care of us, Eric Hefner and Chad Oliver of Zaxby's of Middle Georgia for providing a delicious lunch, Tom Ridgeway and the Macon Lions Club for providing refreshments for our Saturday Coffee House, Georgia Perimeter College Interpreter Program for sending great Support Services Provider (SSP) volunteers and the student volunteers from Stratford Academy in Macon who helped on Saturday.
Kim Powers Smith and Chris Myltek cheer for a team response to questions posed by Mike Fagbemi from the National consortium on Deaf Blindness.