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Here are frequently asked questions of the NDC | Help Team. Search by topic, or scroll through the archive. If you have a question, please ask us. Want to be alerted when new FAQs are posted? Join the NDC listserv.


FAQs About Transition and Employment

If you are interested in learning more about VR services or would like to apply, contact your state VR agency to find an office near you. Many VR offices remain open during COVID-19. Your local office will share how they are meeting with applicants, following individual state guidelines. For remote meetings, consider these strategies:

Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) programs can help identify a suitable career path, and provide funding and services to reach a career goal. VR services are determined based on the person’s needs and goals, but can include the following:

  • Assessments to evaluate career interests and readiness for eligibility and services.

  • Assistive Technologies to support communication (e.g., hearing aids, flashing/vibrating alarm clocks, captioned telephones, personal amplifiers, screen braille communicators and more).

  • Accommodations to participate in training or work (e.g., interpreting and speech-to-text services).

  • Training for future vocational or educational goals (e.g. resources for on-the-job training, funds for tuition, books, supplies and tutoring).

  • Transportation to training or work (e.g. monthly public transportation or mileage).

  • Equipment and clothing to participate in training or employment.

  • Other Services to support an individual to obtain, maintain and retain employment.

Many VR offices remain open and continue to work with individuals remotely. Not yet a client with VR? Contact your local VR office to apply. NDC has created the following outline and checklist, Plan Your Future: A Guide to Vocational Rehabilitation for Deaf Youth that you may use to prepare for your VR appointment to help you secure services.

Yes! VR provides Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) to deaf youth still attending school. Pre-ETS covers five areas for youth to become ready for training, education and employment after high school:

  1. Job Exploration: discover how interests, passions and abilities match with certain careers.

  2. Work-Based Learning: work in real-life employment settings to practice, learn and apply skills.

  3. Postsecondary Counseling: plan ahead and work towards a career goal through vocational training, college or other training programs.

  4. Work Readiness Training: acquire different skills in communicating, working with others, problem-solving and practicing professionalism.

  5. Instruction in Self-Advocacy: learn what and how to ask for accommodations at college, training programs or work.

Work with your Individualized Education Plan team to ensure that Pre-ETS and VR are included in your plan or directly apply to your local VR office! VR can include families, teachers and the IEP team to make sure everyone is on the same page to prepare for life after high school. Families should participate in meetings with VR to provide additional support, information and guidance. If the deaf student is below 18, a guardian is required to sign off on paperwork.

  • Play Deafverse, a choose-your-own-adventure game, to foster self-determination and develop self-advocacy skills.

  • Take the Self-Determination Inventory and work on areas to improve self-determination based on an individualized report.

  • Take online transition assessments to connect interests to careers and learn about different skills needed for life after high school.

  • Watch #DeafSuccess community stories of deaf professionals to learn about the skills and self-beliefs necessary to reach career goals.

  • Learn how to build a resume.

  • Practice interview skills by doing mock interviews with family members or through online platforms with teachers, classmates, and/or friends.

  • Learn and practice independent living skills at home.

  • Meet remotely with the school’s IEP team for more ideas and strategies to develop transition skills.

  • Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings, meetings with Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) staff, and other Pre-ETS meetings can happen over the phone or in person if following required health protocols. Consider telecommunication relay services for phone calls as needed for deaf participants.

  • Download and share online transition resources in alternative formats (e.g. paper or flash drives) to share with students and families.

  • Discuss what students have learned through mail-in surveys and/or calls.

  • Partner with local access television to broadcast Pre-ETS lessons.

  • Identify programs to support deaf students’ access to technology

  • Provide a paper copy of the Deafverse Choose Your Future! Activity Kit to better understand the student’s communication needs, personalities traits and skills and develop self-determination.

  • Join our listserv to gather ideas from other professionals working with deaf students with limited access to internet and technology.

  • Provide online resources including training and suggested curriculums to teachers, transition specialists and Pre-ETS providers.

  • Adapt in-person camps, programs, fairs and similar events to take place online through a video conferencing platform or self-paced modules.

  • Incorporate regular online social hours to provide students opportunities to connect and socialize.

  • Put together an online panel of deaf professional role-models to share their experiences and answer questions.

  • Consider a hybrid approach by providing online work readiness training followed by in-person paid work experiences in the community incorporating safety measures such as social distancing, hand washing and face masks.

For additional resources and ideas, see NDC's Pre-ETS page, online courses, and list of transition checklists/tools.