Community Trainings

The Independence Center offers disability trainings to anyone who interacts with people with disabilities. Our trainers facilitate interactive presentations to groups of any size, using their expertise and insight gained from their lived experiences with disabilities. We will work with you before the training to customize our content and time-length to meet your group’s training interests and needs.

Community Workshops


Disability Awareness Part 1: Creating Positive Connections

 An introduction to disability, this training provides tips for appropriate language to use when communicating about or with a disabled person, as well as guidance for etiquette when interacting with people with a variety of disabilities, including the following: mobility disabilities, D/deaf and hard of hearing, blind and low vision, developmental disabilities, traumatic brain Injuries, mental health conditions, and multiple chemical sensitives

Time length: 60-90 minutes


Disability Awareness Part 2: Access in Practice

What does access look like for people disabilities? This training introduces participants to communication, physical and mental and emotional access. Participants receive tools for creating access and responding to accommodations in a variety of settings.

Time length: 60-90 minutes

Click here to download our disability awareness brochure.


Assistance Animals

What is the difference between a service animal and an emotional animal? Where are they allowed to go, and how are they certified? This training outlines the legal protections and responsibilities about assistance animals that people with disabilities and community members need to know.

People with disabilities who take this training learn about their rights and responsibilities so that they can make informed choices with assistance animals.

Landlords, business owners, and mental health providers who take this training learn effective approaches for interacting with assistance animals and their owners.

Time length: 90 minutes


Inclusive Emergency Planning

This training focuses on the need to plan with, not for people with disabilities, and ways to involve them in planning before emergencies happen. We discuss accessibility needs, including alternative forms of communication in emergency alerts, access to shelters, and assistive devices that are needed at shelters. This training includes a show and tell of assistive devices and stories about disabled persons’ experiences in emergencies.

Time length: 60-90 minutes


Personal Emergency Preparedness

A hands-on training that walks through the process of planning for emergencies. Participants use The IC’s Personal Emergency Preparedness Workbook to walk through the following steps to create their plan:

  • Locating accessible alerts
  • Forming a personal support network
  • Assembling an emergency kit
  • Locating a shelter
  • Emotional Recovery

Time length: 60-90 minutes


Mental Health Awareness 

This training offers an introduction to signs and symptoms of mental health challenges. Participants learn etiquette tips for interacting with people who have mental health challenges. We discuss factors that impact a person’s ability to be fully present and grounded as well as strategies for creating mental and emotional accessibility.

Time length: 60-90 minutes


Advocacy and Resilience Workshops

The Independence Center’s Advocacy Series workshops are designed for anyone who wants to grow their skills, at any level, in self-advocacy and systems advocacy. Longer workshops can be scheduled over more than one day.


Assertive Communication Series

These workshops are designed for anyone who wants to grow in their assertiveness and self-awareness. We practice communicating about our strengths and weaknesses, as well as tools for talking out problems and working through conflict.

Time length: 1 hour per workshop


 Self-Advocacy Series

In these workshops, participants build their skills of representing themselves, their views, and their interests. We practice sharing our stories, communicating our needs, problem-solving and working through barriers.

Time length: 1 hour per workshop


Advocating for Your Healthcare

This workshop is designed for anyone who wants to grow their skills and confidence in advocating for their healthcare. This is an opportunity to learn about your rights and responsibilities when pursuing accessible healthcare, and how to get what you need before, during and after your appointment. We practice effective advocacy strategies, including assertive communication and keeping health records.

Time length: 1 hour – 90 minutes


Working through Compassion Fatigue: Strategies for Resilience & Renewal

This workshop is for caregivers, helping professionals, and other community members who support others in personal or professional relationships. We discuss about the signs of compassion fatigue and burnout as well as practices that can help us sustain our ability to offer compassion to others. learn giving ourselves compassion, setting boundaries, forming supportive relationships and creating environments of wellness.

Time length: 1 hour – 90 minutes


Deaf Etiquette and Communication

This training is an introduction to Deaf culture and individuals’ experiences on the D/deaf and hard of hearing continuum. Participants learn etiquette tips, when interacting with D/deaf or hard of hearing people and how to work with American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters along with other a variety of communication aides. We discuss factors that affect hearing and the impact of language barriers.

Time length: 90 minutes

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