2021 Delaware LIFE Conference, Part 3

audio version (opens in a new tab)

Introduction

This is the final part in my series of articles about the

2021 Delaware LIFE Conference

which I attended virtually this year in September over 3 days. If you have not yet read the first two parts, I suggest reading

summary of day 1: September 15

and

summary of day 2: September 21

before reading my summary of the third day.  The final day of the Delaware LIFE Conference occurred on September 22, 2021. As I wrote previously,

LIFE Conference presentation materials

are available online for anyone to access. In this blog post, I will summarize some of what I learned on day 3 of the conference.

Delaware Disability Hub

I begin this blog post by summarizing a resource primarily intended for Delaware youth with disabilities. Unfortunately, presentation material about this useful online resource is not available on the LIFE Conference presentations page as of this writing. The

Delaware Disability Hub

helps people transition to adulthood. Categories include employment, legal, education, emergency preparedness and transportation. Each category has frequently asked questions and a toolkit. A transition coordinator stated that the web site can help students explain their strengths and disability. The site also demonstrates that people with disabilities are successful because videos are available. A youth stated he finds the higher education and transportation sections to be useful. I will now focus on a presentation about the transition from high school to adulthood.

Continuing Education Post High School

This presentation, which does have material available on the LIFE Conference presentations page, is entitled

“Education and Continuing Education Post High School”.

A college student presenter stated the importance of professionals focusing on what the student is interested in and helping him/her achieve that goal. Conversation can help narrow down specific employment goals if they are uncertain. Work-based learning opportunities progress as they go through school. In elementary school, Awareness is the focus. Career industry through job shadowing is the focus in middle school. In high school, students take relevant academic courses. Transition goal: transition from school to employment. The secondary to postsecondary pipeline goal is more equitable outcomes led by youth. A Delaware Department of Education representative stated businesses are becoming more aware of efficiency and positive impact of hiring people with disabilities. The student presenter, who has an invisible disability, stated it was challenging for him to know whom to ask for help. I will conclude by summarizing the closing remarks.

Closing Remarks

Just like the first presentation from day 3 which I discussed above, the closing remarks are not currently available on the presentations page. The speakers were two Delawareans with disabilities: a business owner and a college student. The business owner, who spoke at a previous Delaware LIFE Conference, stated the root of the LIFE Conference is self-advocacy. The college student said self-advocacy means stating what a person needs and achieving it. She recommends communication and patience. The individual also encouraged people to use their voice and say what needs to be said. The business owner encouraged participants to share what they learned during the 2021 LIFE Conference with the World. That statement inspired me to help achieve that goal by creating my 3-part event summary. The business owner also expressed his gratitude for past generations of Delawareans with disabilities who magnified disability issues. Everyone has a voice, whether through natural voice or technology. A professional asked what 3 things are recommended to help the current generation of youth with disabilities. 1: Allow them to spread wings. 2: Don’t be afraid to cross lines by trying new things. 3: Let the individual create their life plan. The student also recommended letting a person’s voice be heard. Bottom line: The 2021 LIFE Conference was lengthy, but I learned a lot!

Question for Readers

What are the most important things you have learned while reading my three-part series about this year’s Delaware LIFE Conference? I will return next week with another article.

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