Unit 7 - Practical Applications
ADA Technical Assistance Manual
Unit 8 - Measurement
Interview Worksheet


Course Overview
Units 1-2
Units 3-4
Units 5-6
Units 7-8
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Unit 7 – Practical Applications

Lesson 7.0 Introduction
Lesson 7.1 Structured conversations with persons with disabilities
Lesson 7.2 Interviews with service providers and volunteers
Lesson 7.3 ADA Technical Assistance
Lesson 7.4 Personal Challenge


Upon completing this unit you should be able to:

Use information by applying it to a real life situation.
Demonstrate enhanced communication skills.
Participate in a structured conversation with a person with disabilities.
Perform an interview with a skilled service provider.
Complete an informal audit using an ADA checklist
Develop a personal development plan for continued skill improvement.

Lesson 7.0 Introduction

To help participants transfer learning into daily practice so that it is sustained and productive, this workshop uses coaching and other kinds of follow-up activities. These activities are based on the following adult learning characteristics (Speck, 1996):

  1. Adults will commit to learning when the goals and objectives are considered realistic and important to them. Application in the 'real world' is important and relevant to the adult learner's personal and professional needs.

  2. Adults want to be the origin of their own learning and will resist learning activities they believe are an attack on their competence. Thus, professional development needs to give participants some control over the what, who, how, why, when, and where of their learning.

  3. Adult learners need to see that the professional development learning and their day-to-day activities are related and relevant.

  4. Adult learners need direct, concrete experiences in which they apply the learning in real work.

  5. Adult learning has ego involved. Professional development must be structured to provide support from peers and to reduce the fear of judgment during learning.

  6. Adults need to receive feedback on how they are doing and the results of their efforts. Opportunities must be built into professional development activities that allow the learner to practice the learning and receive structured, helpful feedback.

The post workshop activities are designed to facilitate on-the-job transfer. Dean Spitzer, in his book “SuperMotivation” comments:

“For training to be effective, the new knowledge and skills must be sustained through use on the job. At the end of a typical training course, newly acquired skills are often quite tenuous, and proficiency has rarely reached a self-sustaining level. What happens after training is actually more important that what happens during it. Sadly, too many companies abandon their trainees after the course is over.”

Lesson 7.1 Structured conversations with persons with disabilities

The first assignment will be to talk to people with disabilities and practice some of your new sensitivity skills. Take a few minutes and review the “interview” tips and techniques found in Unit 3, Lesson 3:5 – Conversation Etiquette and then print out a copy of the Interview Worksheet.

Lesson 3.5: Conversation Etiquette
When talking to a person with a disability, look at and speak directly to that person, rather than through a companion who may be along.
Relax. Don't be embarrassed if you happen to use accepted common expressions such as See you later or Got to be running along that seem to relate to the person's disability.

To get the attention of a person with a hearing impairment, tap the person on the shoulder or wave your hand. Look directly at the person and speak clearly, naturally and slowly to establish if the person can read lips. Not all persons with hearing impairments can lip-read. Those who can will rely on facial expression and other body language to help in understanding. Show consideration by placing yourself facing the light source and keeping your hands, cigarettes and food away from your mouth when speaking. Keep mustaches well-trimmed. Shouting won't help. Written notes may.

When talking with a person in a wheelchair for more than a few minutes, use a chair, whenever possible, in order to place your self at the person's eye level to facilitate conversation.

When greeting a person with a severe loss of vision, always identify yourself and others who may be with you.

EXAMPLE: On my right is John Jones.

When conversing in a group, give a vocal cue by announcing the name of the person to whom you are speaking. Speak in a normal tone of voice, indicate in advance when you will be moving from one place to another and let it be known when the conversation is at an end.

Listen attentively when you're talking to a person who has a speech impairment. Keep your manner encouraging rather than correcting. Exercise patience rather than attempting to speak for a person with speech difficulty. When necessary, ask short questions that require short answers or a nod or a shake of the head. Never pretend to understand if you are having difficulty doing so. Repeat what you understand, or incorporate the interviewee's statements into each of the following questions. The person's reactions will clue you in and guide you to understanding.

If you have difficulty communicating, be willing to repeat or rephrase a question. Open-ended questions are more appropriate than closed-ended questions.


Closed-Ended Question: You were a tax accountant in XYZ Company in the corporate planning department for seven years. What did you do there?

Open-Ended Question: Tell me about your recent position as a tax accountant.

Do not shout at a hearing impaired person. Shouting distorts sounds accepted through hearing aids and inhibits lip reading. Do not shout at a person who is blind or visually impaired -- he or she can hear you!

To facilitate conversation, be prepared to offer a visual cue to a hearing impaired person or an audible cue to a vision impaired person, especially when more than one person is speaking.

Practical Assignment

Now it is time for you to practice and apply some of your new skills. Please click here to get your Interview Worksheet.

Lesson 7.2 Interviews with service providers and volunteers

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Much can be learned from professionals who work for organizations chartered to serve the disabled community. These organizations range from State sponsored groups such as The Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities to those with more of local community focus. For the second assignment, you will have an opportunity to interview a service provider of your choice or you may get a listing of Disability Groups and Resources by selecting the appropriate menu above. Please click here to get your Service Provider Interview Worksheet.

Lesson 7.3 ADA Technical Assistance

ADA-TA, a series of technical assistance (TA) updates from the Disability Rights Section of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, provides practical information on how to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Each ADA-TA highlights specific topics of interest to business owners and managers, State and local government officials, architects, engineers, contractors, product designers and manufacturers, and all others who seek a better understanding of accessible design and the ADA. The goal of the series is to clarify potential misunderstandings about the requirements of the ADA, and to highlight its flexible, common sense approach to accessibility.

Each ADA-TA has two standard features: Common Questions and Design Details. Common Questions answers questions that have been brought to our attention through complaints, compliance reviews, calls to our information line, or letters from the public. Design Details provides supplemental information and illustrations of specific design requirements.

ADA-TA complements the Department's ADA documents, including the regulations issued under titles II and III of the ADA and the Department's technical assistance manuals. ADA-TA is not a legal interpretation of the ADA. Instead it provides practical solutions on how to comply with the ADA while avoiding costly and common mistakes.

Your third assignment is to download the following document and use it as a guide for the next few days to develop a better awareness of accessible design in your community.


Lesson 7.4: Personal Challenge

Congratulations! You have made it to the best part of this workshop. Now it is time for you to decide how you will use the information to make a difference in your community. Consider the following prescriptive model for development:

In his book “High Flyers”, Morgan McCall, Jr., presents the following:

“Not surprisingly, there is a parallel relationship between what an organization can do to enhance development and what individuals can do on their behalf. Briefly stated, taking charge of your development means knowing yourself, knowing what you want to achieve, identifying opportunities for growth in that direction, being proactive in getting those opportunities, and creating an environment that promotes learning from them.”

Bottom line – use it or lose it! Our challenge to you is to proactively seek out opportunities to help make a difference in your community. One of the best ways to get started is to contact an agency or an organization chartered to help people with disabilities. In Georgia, you can start your journey by contacting disability link. http://www.disabilitylink.org or Georgia Disability Advocate at http://www.gadisabilityadvocate.com.

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