DeafBlind Interpreting National Training and Resource Center (DBI)

Western Oregon University’s Regional Resource Center on Deafness is home to the DeafBlind Interpreting National Training and Resource Center (DBI). This center is funded by a federal grant sponsored by the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA). Within a framework of evidence-based practice, DBI is charged with enhancing communication access for persons who are DeafBlind by increasing the number of interpreters able to effectively interpret utilizing tactile communication and other strategies to meet individual needs. DBI will provide training and resources to increase the pool of qualified interpreters by building the capacity of DeafBlind individuals to serve as mentors and educators in this Specialization. DBI also aims to build the capacity of VR, interpreter educators, interpreters, and other service providers to better serve DeafBlind constituents, by giving them the knowledge and skills to incorporate evidence-based practices into their daily work.
During this first year, through the use of surveys, interviews, focus groups, and a review of the literature that exists in the field of DeafBlind interpreting, we are working to identify the core competencies needed for effective practice as a DeafBlind interpreter. In Year 2 (2018), we will further design the program delivery of online modules as well as an onsite experience. It will follow a hybrid model. A total of 5 onsite trainings will be conducted (end of Year 2, and into Years 3 & 4). There will be online pre-requisite modules as well as follow-up online engagement expected of participants. Trainings will take place in larger geographic areas, where higher numbers of DeafBlind consumers reside.
At DBI, we believe that DeafBlind people must be at the forefront of all of our decision making processes. The DBI grant staff will be working closely with DeafBlind leaders, interpreter educators, vocational rehabilitation professionals and linguists as we develop the curriculum, needs assessment, and scope of the grant work. Project staff include CM Hall (Project Co-Director), Heather Holmes (Project Co-Director), and Elayne Kuletz (Web Manager). Primary consultants, Jelica Nuccio and aj granda, will provide in-depth training to interpreters and DeafBlind mentors in ProTactile ASL and mentoring. Approximately 20 content experts from around the country are assisting in the effort. Over the course of the 5-year grant, trainings will be held both online and in person. DBI will also serve as a resource center of training materials for interpreters.
While we are still working on some of the logistics of our training, here are some answers to the most commonly asked questions.

Who are the trainings for?

The trainings are for interpreters who work with DeafBlind individuals: Deaf, Hard of Hearing, or Hearing.

Where will the trainings be happening?

In larger, urban areas with higher concentrations of DeafBlind individuals.

How can I become a participant in the DBI training program?

We will be looking for Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Hearing individuals with interpreting experience but beyond that, further eligibility criteria is yet to be determined. We plan to promote the program and recruit in Year 2 (2018).

Is there a cost to participate?

We are still working to determine how to make this training the most cost-effective and accessible. There may be a cost for earning CEUs.

Where can I find more information?

Check out our website, blog, and Facebook page. This fall, we also look forward to cultivating a digital resource repository of DeafBlind interpreting content through a Digital Commons and publishing our virtual training space. You can also sign up or reach out with us to ask a question through our website link.
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