CIL Receives Grant from Darden Restaurants Foundation

CIL Orlando was recently awarded a $2,000 grant to support Middle & High School Education Transition for Deaf Students.

This grant is part of the inaugural Darden Restaurants Community Grants Program, and the contribution was made on behalf of Olive Garden Restaurants located at 665 N. Orlando Avenue, and 3675 E. Colonial Drive.

CIL Educational Specialist, Martha Knowles, works to transition Deaf students and prepares them for the next step of their life; high school, college or employment.  She usually visits students once a week to teach them necessary skills such as learning to drive, using a bank, understanding paychecks, and different job skills. They also learn how to request a sign language interpreter, and the proper etiquette for using an interpreter.  When meeting with younger students in middle school, Martha focuses on social interactions and time management skills.

Quan Nelson started meeting with Martha shortly after his family moved to Orlando from Haiti. He has learned many things that he would not have learned from a regular public school education;  including Deaf Culture, use of teletypewriters and videophones.  This year he and his classmates will be practicing some real-life skills, including opening and using a bank checking account, developing and following a budget, finding a job and an apartment, and other related skills.  He is now eighteen, getting ready to leave school, and he is better prepared for this from his weekly visits with Martha. He also knows where he can go for help when he needs it, which is something many students with hearing loss would not have, if CIL were not able to offer transition services.

Kevin Rosa is one of several students attending Greenwood Lakes Middle School in Seminole County. Since he started learning more about Deaf Culture, he has become more involved in his church; which has deaf/hard of hearing program, and he participates regularly in deaf community social activities.  In class, he takes on leadership roles and helps other students.  One of his classmates has limited signing skills and Kevin often helps him communicate by interpreting for the other student.

Any new student will also be introduced to the types of assistive technology available through CIL and other agencies, including vibrating alarm clocks, wireless doorbells, and videophones. Parents are contacted during the year so that they are aware of where they can go if they have any questions or concerns about their child's disability. This is possible because CIL is able to offer transition services with the assistance of such grants from Darden Restaurants.

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