Vocational rehabilitation (VR) professionals play an important role in the transition from high school to continued education or employment. VR professionals need to be prepared to provide high-quality and individualized services for deaf people with diverse values, goals, and needs. Use these 10 tips to improve your interactions and outcomes with deaf people.
Recognize the diversity of deaf people and deaf communities.
Deaf people are a diverse population with a wide range of communication preferences, sociocultural backgrounds, and additional disabilities that shape their interactions with their environment. Learn more about the diversity in the deaf community and strategies for increasing accessibility in your setting by taking a Deaf 101 course at nationaldeafcenter.org/deaf101
Learn how to center deaf people in decision-making.
Deaf people have different aspirations, experiences, backgrounds, values, and needs. Recognizing a deaf person’s layered identities and communities is critical to ensuring individualized services and informed choice. Deaf Centered Practice is a course that discusses the social implications in privileges, biases and marginalization, when working with deaf people and communities in professional settings. nationaldeafcenter.org/news/dcp
Provide appropriate accommodations for assessments.
Deaf people are uniquely at a disadvantage for Englishbased testing. Learn more about what constitutes reasonable accommodations for placement tests, standardized assessments, and psychological evaluations at nationaldeafcenter.org/testing
Assess deaf students’ self-determination skills.
How your deaf students plan, advocate, and work toward goals is essential to their future success. Use the Self-Determination Inventory, which is accessible in American Sign Language, to easily assess those skills and get a detailed report: nationaldeafcenter.org/sdi
Encourage the development of self-advocacy skills.
VR counselors who work with deaf clients are in a unique position to support their self-advocacy skill building, especially during the transition into the workforce and other postsecondary settings. Learn more by reading a research summary that explores strategies that VR counselors use to promote self-advocacy knowledge and skills for deaf people in employment and educational contexts: nationaldeafcenter.org/vrself
Maximize opportunities to develop preemployment skills.
There is an increased focus on supporting students with disabilities in the transition to life after high school. This guide provides relevant resources, contexts, practices, and considerations to support VR professionals in providing the five required categories of pre-employment transition services for deaf youth: nationaldeafcenter.org/topics/pre-ets
Build deaf students’ college readiness.
Many barriers may result in deaf people being less prepared for college. Increasing readiness is a shared responsibility of students, professionals, and institutions. Learn more about strategies for increasing readiness at nationaldeafcenter.org/college-readiness
Use online gaming to strengthen transition skills.
Deafverse is an interactive game supporting the development of self-advocacy skills and work readiness for deaf youth. Players navigate common situations in a variety of settings, like community, school, and the workplace. nationaldeafcenter.org/deafverse
Pursue professional development opportunities.
NDC offers a variety of free e-learning opportunities for professionals who support the postsecondary success of deaf students. Earn CRC clock hours by taking courses such as Deaf 101, Deaf Centered Practice, Effective Communication Access, Test Equity, and more. nationaldeafcenter.org/learn
Believe in the potential of deaf people!
#DeafSuccess spotlights deaf professionals working in a range of fields and industries. Role models help foster high expectations, self-esteem, and self-determination in deaf youth. View videos of successful deaf people: nationaldeafcenter.org/deafsuccess