Tag Archives: disability awareness

Building for the Future – A local training organisation focuses on communication support skills in their Cert IV in Disability

In 2015 there were 4.3 million Australians living with disability, and over one-quarter (1.2 million people) had a communication disability.

The Certificate IV in Disability provides students with the skills and knowledge to work effectively with people with disabilities in a range of services. Students learn to develop and implement programs that empower people with disabilities to achieve greater independence and well being. Students later work in residential group homes, training resource centres, day respite centres, other community settings or people’s homes.

Many training organisations across Australia do not include optional communication units in their Cert IV Disability courses, but Federation University in Ballarat recognised that skills in communication are very important. They wanted their students to know more about communication and the different ways people can communicate.

This year, Grampians Regional Communication Service is working with Federation University for their Certificate IV in Disability, aiming to give students a more “hands on” experience of AAC devices and communication strategies.

The VET Teacher for Disability & Community Services and the Regional Communication Service speech pathologist are working together, focusing on developing student skills in identifying communication needs and implementing strategies to support communication needs.  Students will have an opportunity to try, experience and ask questions of a range of AAC devices, enabling future disability support workers to support others with their communication needs. Students will get to experience diverse AAC, such as Talking Mats, chat books, communication boards and books, community request cards and key word sign as well as speech generation devices. Assignments and lectures have been designed to have a more realistic feel and to focus on facilitating and supporting communication to increase independence and participation. Students are also informed of resources available such as allied health professionals, visual supports, Communication Access, Easy English and the National Relay Service. 

For more information on Federation University’s Certificate IV in Disability see: https://study.federation.edu.au/#/course/DLLA

By Georgie Turner, Grampians Regional Communication Service

Supporting Horsham Rural City Council

In July 2016 Grampians Regional communication service was involved in a new initiative with Horsham Rural City Council. Horsham rural city council approached Grampians Regional Communication Service to be a part of their newly updated disability action plan. This action plan identified communication and disability awareness as an area for future training and support for the council. GRCS and Horsham Rural City Council combined forces to develop suitable training that was aimed at the following three key areas;

  1. Helping staff get a better understanding of the issues for people with disability
  2. Building staff confidence with communication when working with people with disability
  3. Providing staff with information in relation to creating a more inclusive environment for people with a disability.

horsham-city-councilThe communication and disability awareness training was run by Grampians Regional Communication Service over a series of workshops spread over two days. 150 participants attended the training with the content focused around building staff member’s confidence in communicating with people who have little or no speech. Staff members ranged from people working in customer service, management positions, information technology, engineering, home care as well as the local counsellors.

Overall the training was very successful leading to several other councils within the region expressing interest in training. Pleasingly there have also been several requests for further information in relation to communication access and in October it is anticipated Horsham Rural City Council will receive further training in relation to making their service more accessible to people with complex communication needs.

By Megan Nestor

Grampians Regional Communication Service