The silent trainer

Published: Thursday, June 05, 2008
Linda Williams of the Consumer Action outreach staff gave a credit card fraud training at the Center on Deafness-Inland Empire (CODIE) in Riverside, California, on May 16th, for 12 deaf community advocates and two translators. Williams notes that the training provided Consumer Action with a valuable opportunity to experience the training needs of the deaf and hearing-impaired community. The Center on Deafness-Inland Empire is a partner in Consumer Action’s national network of community-based organizations, through which we distribute free training materials and provide train-the-trainer meetings. CODIE provides advocacy, consumer education and direct services to enable deaf, hard-of-hearing, and deafened adults to live independent, productive lives, with full access to the services and opportunities available to people who hear. Williams was able to provide a reasonable accommodation to CODIE under disability rights laws by offering an on-site training. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) gives deaf and hard of hearing individuals the right to a qualified interpreter. Because sign interpretation is physically taxing, interpreters generally change shifts at regular intervals, which can be very costly for non-profit training organizations. Williams instead suggests that trainers consider an on-site training at which the organization being trained can provide an interpreter. She also suggests checking with local colleges and universities for volunteer interpreters. The training at CODIE provided deaf advocates with information on how to counsel clients who are victims of credit card fraud. The event also provided a valuable learning opportunity for Consumer Action’s outreach team on best practices for training the deaf and hard of hearing community. Williams notes that trainers typically get their energy from the crowd. However, presenting to the deaf and hard of hearing community is quite different, said Williams, because the attention is focused on the translators, not the trainer. The trainer must be prepared for a delayed response from the audience as they comprehend the translator. Many training tips (knowing the audience, looking for non-verbal signs of communication and making adjustments when necessary to maintain the interest of the audience) are listed in the best practices section of the “Outreach” tab of the Consumer Action website. Consumer Action’s staff has enormous technical knowledge about presenting in train-the-trainer settings as well as on consumer protection issues. The staff is always willing to lend expertise and technical assistance to other groups. Contact Consumer Action’s outreach staff by email at [email protected], or by phone at 1-800-320-4071. The Credit Card Fraud module was developed in partnership with Washington Mutual. The module includes: brochures, lesson plans, leader’s guides, activities and Power Point presentations.



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