Education and Training
The Disability Action Center provides numerous education and training related classes to our members. Our continuing education focuses on computer education and using assistive technology in today’s world, Book Club and Literacy, and a continued partnership in Disability Mentoring Day.
Adaptive Computer Lab and Classes: DAC Adaptive Computer Lab is equipped with 10 wheel chair accessible computer stations and new ergonomic/adjustable task chairs and an assortment of adaptive equipment such as a large print and colored coded keyboards, roller ball mouse, slanted laptop stands, comfort typing/wrist pads, and both laptop and desktop computers outfitted with a variety of software. Structured classes and proctored computer lab is offered at least twice weekly, however, the Lab is open each week day from 9-4 p.m. for independent use. The structured classes focus on a variety of software which will enhance accessibility and provide individuals with disabilities and members of the community the opportunity experience software such as Dragon Reader, Dragon Naturally Speaking, and other ease of access tools available on each computer. Our weekly classes also focus on beginning use of the computer, effective keyboarding, beginning Microsoft programs, internet safety, and social networking safety. The Computer Lab’s instructional laptop and projector is also equipped with a Mimio Smart Board technology and the clients enjoy the interactive learning. With the addition of several iPAD’s to the lab, we are now using Proloquo2Go, Sign4Me, a variety of life skills and literacy and numeracy applications, amongst others to further enhance the learning and communication potential of our clients. The Adaptive Computer Lab is funded in part by the WVU Center for Excellence in Disabilities WVATS Program.
Compass Project (Assistive Technology): Compass Project incorporates and demonstrates assistive technology in a wide range of classes offered at the center including Computer Class, Computer Lab, Bible Study, Book Club, Cooking Class, Life Skills, Recreation, and others. Through the Compass Project, structured WVATS Demonstration Classes are offered as well as one on one instruction at any time with an appointment. In addition to the demonstrations and utilization of assistive technology in DAC Classes, individuals are also able to borrow equipment and “try before you buy” to gauge if the tool, technology, software, or device is beneficial and will meet their need. The Compass Project is funded in by the WVU Center for Excellence in Disabilities WVATS Program.
Book Club: The DAC’s Reading and Literacy Program currently consists of a Book Club and individualized tutoring. Our Book Club meets weekly for one or more hours to encourage our members to read and comprehend a variety of books and topics. Our members read aloud together as a group and read individually with assistance as needed. We focus on understanding the material and discussing the story and characters. We purchase hard copy books for each participant and also utilize assistive technology such as iPads and Kindles with a narrator function and screen enhancers as well as a reading pen for individuals with sight or learning impairments.
In addition to a weekly Book Club, individualized tutoring is offered to individuals with disabilities who lack basic literacy skills and do not respond to a more traditional phonetic instruction or teaching method.
The Edmark Reading Program is a great alternative for students and adults who need an alternative to phonics. The key to this success is the program’s use of a carefully sequenced, highly repetitive word recognition method combined with errorlesslearning.
The Edmark reading program is recommended for students with developmental disabilities or Autism, students with learning disabilities, Title 1 students, ESL students, Preschool and kindergarten students who lack vocabulary development, and non-readers of any age who struggle with phonics.
Disability Mentoring Day: The Disability Action Center has partnered with WV Youth Works and the WV Division of Rehabilitation in Disability Mentoring Day Activities. Disability Mentoring Day is a nationwide event held annually on the third Wednesday in October to highlight individuals with disabilities in the workplace and provide mentoring opportunities to individuals wishing to join the workforce. Past DMD site locations and mentors have included Fairmont General Hospital and the Holiday Inn. NEW in 2015: LIFE (Living Independently, Focusing on Empowerment) Our LIFE program, funded by the William and Helen Thomas Charitable Trust, focuses on supporting individuals with disabilities in learning to live independently in their own home or the home of a friend/family members. This highly customized program is tailored to the needs of each client and family and encourages personal responsibility, job training and employment, financial management skills, self advocacy, and overall health and wellness.