Training & Peer Support

Peer Support Health Access Training Program for Disabled Women

This is a peer counseling training model for disabled women, conducted at a disability organization in 2004, that is appropriate for Centers for Independent Living, disability support organizations, Senior Centers, and other community-based disability rights or elder services organizations. This program provided training in peer counseling skills, health and health access awareness, and a personal growth experience, emphasizing empowerment and self-advocacy skills. The specific skills that were taught and practiced in this group are described in the Support Group Training Guide.

Complete PDF: Peer Counseling

A Training Curriculum on Improving Access and Quality of Care for Women with Disabilities

This curriculum offers teachers and leaders in the disability community an array of training resources about issues of medical self-advocacy. These resources can be used in classrooms, workshops and staff meetings as well as one-on-one tutoring in self-advocacy.

Complete PDF: Training Curriculum

Facilitating Support Groups

Support groups are among the best and most popular approaches to empowering and connecting people. In support groups, participants can open up, realize they are not alone, heal old hurts, set new goals, learn new skills, take charge of their lives, and become leaders themselves. For many people, a support group is the best arena for these kinds of changes.

Leading a support group can be a rewarding and growth-enhancing activity. However, it can also be very challenging. This article discusses ideas and approaches to facilitating an effective support group. It addresses the planning process before the group begins, an overview of leadership skills and activities, ways to include people with communication impairments, difficulties and challenges that may arise, and evaluation of the group.

Support groups have changed millions of people’s lives for the better. This structured group interaction is particularly useful for people with disabilities to learn to direct their own health care, become more communicative with providers, understand and assert their rights and become active partners in their own healthcare.

Complete PDF: Facilitating Support Groups

Empowerment Training Sessions and Events

The suggestions in this article offer ideas and explanations for developing and structuring empowerment training sessions and events. Keep in mind that training needs of populations of disabled people or families will vary, so feel free to make adaptations. We also encourage reading Facilitating Support Groups because training events and support groups can be similar with respect to group dynamics.

Complete PDF: Empowerment Training Sessions and Events

Disability Awareness Workshop

The purpose of this workshop is to introduce and explore important information about people with disabilities. We will demystify the concept “disability” and offer basic skills for interacting with and accommodating people with disabilities.

The following are the goals of the workshop:

  • Increase participant awareness of disability issues and disability culture.
  • Offer a basic understanding of the barriers preventing people with disabilities from full participation in society.
  • Encourage participants with disabilities to share their knowledge and help educate others.

Section 1 contains activities that introduce participants to basic disability concepts and issues, such as the civil rights of people with disabilities. Section 2 introduces participants to the concepts of access and accommodation and encourages participants to become more aware of their environment with regard to access. Section 3 helps participants recognize stereotyping and familiarizes them with appropriate language, etiquette, and disability culture when communicating and interacting with people with disabilities.

Workshop activities are interactive, hands-on, and enjoyable. Each activity provides many examples of the terms and concepts covered and demonstrates the importance of understanding the information presented. Sections 1 and 2 each contain two activities, and the facilitator may choose one activity or the other to impart the information. Sections 1 and 3 are supplemented with handouts that summarize and reinforce the terms and concepts presented in this workshop.

Trainers can easily facilitate this workshop with people with a range of disabilities. If you or your program does not include people with disabilities, you might consider enlisting a staff person or trainer from a local Independent Living Center, Disabled Students Program, or other disability organization to conduct this workshop. Although these materials and activities are designed so that anyone with some basic knowledge of disability and disability issues can facilitate, the material will be most effectively presented by trainers with disabilities. In order to more effectively present these activities, trainers should also see the Empowerment Training and Support Group Facilitation articles to learn more about approaches to working with groups and difficult situations that can come up during training sessions.

Complete PDF: Disability Awareness Workshop

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