'Strengthening a Learner's Transition to Independence'

Welcome to the MITTIN Memo

Interest in MITTIN continues to increase with districts, ISDs/RESAs, agencies and parent groups joining presentations as well as arranging for workshops and implementation support. It is wonderful to hear how MITTIN's innovative resources are impacting student learning and teacher connection.

In this March edition of the MITTIN Memo, we have our first guest column from Karen Hairston, Director of Education Services for Great Lakes Reality Labs. Her article is on the MITTIN module design process and the amazing work of Jake Richardson, Lead Game Designer. MITTIN is fortunate to have such creative and talented professionals creating our wonderful transformational programming.

We would also like to extend a "thank you" to the students in Cassy Loveland & Ash Moro's classrooms in the Jackson ISD Young Adult Program for making us such wonderful MITTIN shirts.

Again, thank you for your interest in MITTIN as we continually strive toward excellence for the benefit of a learner's transition to independence.

Best Regards,

Dr. Derek Cooley,

MITTIN Committee Chair

State Representative

Phil Skaggs

We were honored to have Rep Phil Skaggs stop by our booth at the MCEC Conference to learn about MITTIN resources and explore one of our modules. Educators shared stories of students who have strengthened their independent living skills with these innovative resources, which have led to work-based learning placements and plans for future employment.

MITTIN Implementation

Since our last edition of the MITTIN Memo, there have been numerous implementation events being facilitate by fabulous MITTIN educators:

  • Suzy Ruskusky, MITTIN Committee Member/ Assistive Technology & Augmentative Communication Consultant from Kent ISD & Laura Begley, AV Consultant at Wayne RESA, supported the MCEC AV playground which provide tools to increase access to MITTIN resources;
  • Jessica Lucke, MITTIN PLC participant and Ann Arbor Teacher Consultant for Cognitive Impairment Programs, incorporated her use of MITTIN resources in her presentation titled, "iSpy AI: Data, Lessons, IEP Support and More;"
  • Dr. Lois Vaughan - Hussain, MITTIN PLC Facilitator, Ash Moro, Jackson ISD Young Adult Program teacher, Jenna Kogut, Instructional Coach of Special Education at Ingham ISD, and Dr. Kristine Gullen, MITTIN Project Manager, provided a 1/2 day workshop and presentation titled, "MITTIN Modules & Resources: A Practitioner's Guide to Transition Planning From School to Reality."
  • MITTIN provided information and at-the-elbow support at sponsor booths during the Michigan Transition Services Association Conference (MTSA) in Lansing, Michigan and at the Michigan Council for Exception Children Conference (MCEC) in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Module Design:

Where do MITTIN Games Come From?

By Karen Hairston, GLRL Director of Education Services

In any creative endeavor, the first question is always figuring out what you want to make. In the case of MITTIN, that means getting input from many different people to identify a game topic and its associated learning objectives for the intended audience. Once Jake Richardson, Great Lakes Reality Labs (GLRL) Lead Game Designer, has the topic and objectives, he hits the drawing board and comes up with lots of ideas that cover the topic. For every aspect of the game, he asks, “Does this meet all the learning objectives?”, “Does this game already exist somewhere else?”, “Is the gameplay intuitive and inclusive for our audience?” and countless other questions. Once he narrows things down to a single idea that can answer the important questions, he moves on to the next phase, starting the game design document (GDD).

This first draft of the GDD typically includes overarching descriptions, a flowchart showcasing the gameplay, and a number of references that Jake uses to help communicate his vision of the game. Once the first draft is complete, he takes it to the rest of the development team to discuss feasibility and timelines and makes adjustments to the design as necessary. Next, it goes through a review process with the subject matter experts (SMEs). The group consists of people who have a wide range of experience with the game’s target audience. The SMEs can be educators (active or retired), transition coordinators, facilitators, parents, workplace coordinators, case managers, members of the MITTIN Professional Learning Communities (PLCs), and the list goes on. The SMEs provide Jake with invaluable feedback that he then uses to inform design choices. These feedback sessions can be both intense and humorous. Until the group sits down to discuss the “right” way to load a dishwasher, they don’t realize how many “right” ways there are! Eventually, after a number of cycles of review and refinement based on the feedback, the design is approved.

After design approval, Jake works on the final draft of the GDD. Everything from dynamic weather systems (think Rainforest Cafe on your computer) to the hum that the refrigerator makes all need to be spelled out in excruciating detail. After further intensive review and fine-tuning, the GDD gets the stamp of approval internally and is deemed development-ready.

With Jake, game design is always a community effort and involves a whole lot of people to make sure it hits the intended mark. The games that GLRL designs and develops are a testament to each and every person who has played a role along the way. From artists and testers to the PLCs and SMEs, they all greatly support the game design process and help to make the games a success!

Thank you!

We would like to thank students from Campus Outfitters a student business in the Jackson ISD Young Adult Program and the classrooms of Cassy Loveland and Ash Moro. They created and screen printed wonderful MITTIN shirts and shirts for the MCEC Conference. In total they produced over 70 sweatshirts and 100 t-shirts that were purchased by participants. Great Work!

2024 MAASE Summer Institute

Michigan Council for Exceptional Children (MCEC) 84th annual conference will be held at the Amway Grand Hotel i

Click here for information on the MAASE Summer Institute Conference

MITTIN Implementation & Networking

Over the next few weeks you can find us connecting with parents, agencies and educators to strengthening a learner's transition to independence at:

Council for Exceptional Children 2024 Conference

March 13 - 15, 2024

Transition Coordinators Regions 2 & 4+

April 23, 2024 - MITTIN Update

What is MITTIN?

MITTIN – MIchigan Transition To INdependence is a dynamic collection of modules and curricular resources which foster the development of independent living skills in the home and community. Designed to support special education transition-related instruction, these resources are free and available to all parents, schools, educators and learners in Michigan. MITTIN is a partnership of the Michigan Association of Administrators of Special Education (MAASE), Michigan Council for Exceptional Children (MCEC), Great Lakes Reality Labs (GLRL) and Public Policy Associates (PPA). These resources can be found at: maase.org/mittin

Safety and Independence at Home

MITTIN currently has seven topics which focus on strengthening skills which promote safety and independence at home. 

  • Change a Light Bulb
  • Clean Flat Surfaces
  • Clean the Bedroom
  • Put Away Groceries
  • Use a Microwave
  • Use an Oven
  • Use a Stove

Safety and Independence in the Community

MITTIN currently has four topics which focus on strengthening skills which promote safety and independence in the community.

  • Cross the Street 
  • Shop for Groceries
  • Walk Through a Parking Lot
  • Use Self-Checkout
For more information, visit our website:  maase.org/mittin