Learn How to Engage Deaf Communities in New Online Course

Published on February 9, 2021

This image has an illustration of the faces of people from different races, gender & ethnicity.

In this video, Paula describes her organization’s approach to deaf-led systems change. Read the full video description.


Successful community engagement is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Creating a positive impact in deaf communities — especially for deaf youth transitioning from high school to adulthood — requires knowledge and skills to facilitate conversations, earn and strengthen relationships, and develop action plans that prioritize deaf people’s needs.

Learn how in Engaging Deaf Communities for Systems Change, a new self-paced professional development course now available in the free online learning library of the National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes (NDC).

In this brief course, educators and other professionals will learn community-centered practices and leadership skills to make intentional and meaningful systemic change — from local grassroots initiatives to institutional transformation while partnering with deaf communities.

Compelling Perspectives and Effective Practices

Unlike many other professional development opportunities that address working with the deaf community, this is a deaf-centered course. Created by the deaf-led team at NDC, it includes compelling perspectives from deaf people, who explain firsthand the impact of community engagement on their lives. They also highlight the nuances that are essential to remember when working with a diverse deaf population.

In three one-hour modules, Engaging Deaf Communities for Systems Change blends these real-world experiences with evidence-based research and practical resources.

  • Module one explores what community conversations are all about and why they are a powerful strategy to find common ground, make an impact, and foster systems change. 

  • Module two digs deeper into community conversations and how to center all deaf people in systems change.  

  • Module three offers strategies on how to harvest information from community engagements, including establishing goals, finding major themes, designing action plans, and building accountability during the implementation phase.  

After completing the course, participants will have increased knowledge and skills necessary to develop goals and strategies to engage their local communities, identify key players for community conversations, strengthen relationships and resource sharing, and correlate the impact that stronger community engagement has on postsecondary transition.

Why We Must Partner With Deaf Communities

Every day, decisions are made about deaf people’s lives without involving deaf people.

By partnering with deaf community members, their lived experiences and knowledge can help  identify where systems are doing well and where they fall short. Community partnerships can impact policy changes, improve strategic planning, and influence the development of programs that are designed to reduce barriers and increase opportunities for deaf people.

Through the Engage for Change | local project, NDC has worked to get to the core of what strategies can increase the success of deaf people by hosting community- and deaf-led dialogs across the nation. Key findings from these community conversations led to a new resource, Leading the Way: Eight Strategies for Deaf Communities to Enact System Change, and this new online course.

Research also suggests that engaging and centering communities can lead to increased employment opportunities for people with disabilities, expanded access to postsecondary education settings, and gains in student achievement for underserved populations.

Earn Professional Development Credits for Free

Engaging Deaf Communities for Systems Change is free and open to all. It is a self-paced, online professional development course designed for community members and organizers, educators, interpreters, and anyone interested in learning about engaging deaf communities. With a passing score of 80% or above, participants receive a certificate of completion and can submit it for 0.3 RID CEUs or 3 CRCC clock hours.



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