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Employment and Individuals Labeled Deaf and Low Functioning Cheryl Davis, Ph.D. Theresa Johnson, M.Ed.

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Presentation on theme: "Employment and Individuals Labeled Deaf and Low Functioning Cheryl Davis, Ph.D. Theresa Johnson, M.Ed."— Presentation transcript:

1 Employment and Individuals Labeled Deaf and Low Functioning Cheryl Davis, Ph.D. Theresa Johnson, M.Ed.

2 Today’s Agenda Who are you? What obstacles do you face? How can we move past them? CD

3 What do you see as challenges? What do these consumers present with? Consumer’s lack of knowledge of work Few employment options The economy Family resistance Difficulty assessing ability Consumer’s communication skills Limited resources in educational system Lack of support services Lack of interpreters CD

4 What can you do? CD

5 Vocational Awareness Developmental Process What were the life experiences that lead to your vocational dreams/goals? Interactions with friends and family members Communication with immediate and extended family Incidental (and imperative) learning is a powerful influence TJ

6 You can’t blame this population for being a product of their environments! TJ

7 No Room for Blame Parents aren’t experts Shared learning experience Teachers aren’t experts Interpreters aren’t experts Transition Specialists aren’t experts VR counselors aren’t experts We are all just doing the best we can, but… TJ

8 Checking Our Expectations What are the characteristics you want to see in a consumer who is seeking services? What are the characteristics that will likely make you think the person isn’t ready for services? Which characteristics match those of someone who is deaf and has a secondary disability? TJ

9 Gatekeeper Expectations You expect the person/family to want a job You expect the person to want to keep the job Deaf plus might not Redefine employment This may be their “paper route/babysitting job” The experience is valuable. It is not a waste. The hard fact: There is no other system where they can work this out. You, gatekeeper, are it. TJ

10 Assessment: What do you need to know? Accurate information about the consumer Current communication strategies and needs Mental Health: Psychological/Substance abuse Mental Health: Emotional/Behavioral issues Social adjustment Independent Living skills Vocational adjustment Need for ongoing support CD

11 How will you get this information? Standardized tests CD SIB-R ClusterStandard Scores (x=100) PercentileSkill Level Motor Skills51.2Limited Social Interaction/ Comm skills 14.1Negligible Personal Living Skills 12.1Very Limited Community Living Skills 2.1Negligible Broad Independence (Full Scale) 10.1Very Limited

12 How will you get this information? Environmental Assessment Was able to sign 50 common nouns (e.g., Coke, bowl, car) Dresses appropriately for situation Will initiate conversation, may repeat several times When he doesn’t know how to answer, he repeats the question Family uses some home signs; with some training could help develop language skills Has developed ways to greet people with gestures CD

13 Communication-The Key Idea of “no communication skills” is overwhelming And it probably isn’t true Interpreters may not be the answer What do you need to communicate functionally? Labeling (identifying) people Labeling (identifying) things Describing Understanding & giving directions Sequencing events CD

14 Environmental Assessment Observe at home Observe in a work setting Observe in community (commerce, social, religious) Interview family Interview individual Interview employer or coworkers Interview educators CD

15 Another Place to Get Level of Functioning: IDEA Requirements Indicator 13 Coordinated Set of Activities Summary of Performance Collaborate with schools TJ

16 Assessing Workplace Communication Skills with Traditionally Underserved Persons who are Deaf CD

17 Assessing Workplace Communication Skills with Traditionally Underserved Persons who are Deaf CD

18 But we don’t have anyone who has that expertise! In 1 minute, write down all of the possible uses you can think of for this cup VaseJewelry boxSand scooper Stomp on itHat for catArt project Catch bugsPitcherHoop for paper ball Scoop waterDrink from itHold paperclips What you need is someone who can think like this about your consumer You want someone who can focus on what they need to do in that environment and on what supports would get them there CD

19 Growing Your Own What not to do: Put someone with no experience with a person with challenges without support Put someone with no experience in a setting they’ve never been before (e.g., TBI Center) Don‘t check in afterwards Have a closed mind about resources (e.g., church, family members) CD

20 Growing Your Own What to do: Pair an experienced interpreter with a novice Pair a deaf person (CDI) with an interpreter Leverage your resources Find the deaf leaders in your community for references Pair someone with the language skills with someone with the disability skills Orient the newbie to the environment before they are ever called on for the job (job shadow-observe & report) Team up with your university (teacher education, interpreter training, human services, ASL classes). Service learning grows future professionals! CD

21 One Communication Caution Home signs can be beneficial to a point They may prevent others from being able to communicate with the individual without “inside information” A goal would be to develop use of standardized language (ASL) CD

22 Making an Impact on Systems Low Incidence Population with High Need: Contact TACE Centers (Technical Assistance and Continuing Education Centers) State Rehabilitation Councils Make sure they are collecting data on the need Make sure addressing these needs gets in the State Plan CD

23 Resources Long (1996) Assessing Workplace Communication Skills with Traditionally Underserved Persons who are Deaf 25 th Institute on Rehabilitation Issues (1999): Serving Individuals who are Low-functioning Deaf Strategies for Community Rehabilitation Programs to serve consumers who are deaf, hard of hearing, late deafened or deafblind Unrealized dreams: Stories of deaf individuals with unique needs and type in Unrealized Dreams. DVD and booklet. $5.00 TJ

24 Contact Information Cheryl D. Davis, Ph.D. Regional Resource Center on Deafness Western Oregon University Theresa Johnson Educational Resource Center on Deafness Texas School for the Deaf


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