The National Deaf Center’s groundbreaking free online game Deafverse gives deaf youth a fun and safe space to practice applying self-determination skills at home, in school, and in the community. Self-determination is about acting or causing things to happen in your life so that you can reach your goals.
One of the main ways to build this self-determination and confidence is through defining goals for continuing their education, getting a job, and living their life to the fullest. But to define these goals, students must first look inward to understand their strengths, interests, and needs.
Using the Choose Your Future! Activity Kit, students can work with their families, teachers, or vocational rehabilitation counselors to decide on goals that align with who they truly are. The activity kit teaches deaf youth how to decide, act, and believe.
Creating a Deafverse Character Helps Deaf Youth Gain Personal Insights
While using the Choose Your Future! Activity Kit, deaf teenagers are encouraged to look closely at the different parts of who they are.
Digging into personality traits, such as ideals, flaws, hobbies, and pet peeves, helps deaf youth find out more about themselves. Sections in the kit also highlight skills, which helps youth build confidence and belief in themselves.
The activity kit also assists them in deciding what people around them need to know, which is an important step in self-determination. Understanding things like how to share their identity, how other people can best get to know them, and their preferred ways of working all help clearly define boundaries and decide how they best interact with others as they plan for the next phase of their life.
Setting Clear Goals Builds Self-Determination
People who are self-determined are good problem solvers because they understand how to reach goals at school, work, and home, even if they run into problems.
The activity kit asks deaf youth to set goals for where they want to be in five years. It also asks them to not only name these goals, but to begin to think about how to reach them.
Throughout the kit, teens are also encouraged to ask friends, family, school staff, or vocational rehabilitation counselors for thoughts that could help them.
The information in the Choose Your Future! Activity Kit and the goals set by deaf youth can also then be integrated in transition planning, like individualized education plans (IEPs), vocational rehabilitation meetings, and pre-employment transition services (Pre-ETS).
Family Support for Deaf Teens shares tips for strengthening self-determination at home among deaf teens, while Kansas University’s 10 Steps to Independence: Promoting Self-Determination in the Home has tips that are applicable to all teens.
Use the self-determined learning model of instruction (SDLMI) to improve teaching practice and strengthen students’ self-determined actions.
For vocational rehabilitation counselors:
This Pre-ETS guide addresses instruction in self-advocacy and suggests additional resources about self-determination.