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Welcoming learners with disabilities

To welcome people with disabilities, here are some general tips we try to apply:

Make yourself available, listen and be patient.

Do not stare at the person, be natural.

Consider the person with disabilities as an ordinary learner: address them directly and not their companion if there is one, do not infantilize them and be polite. Offer, but never impose your help.

Accept guide dogs and assistance dogs in our training centres. Do not disturb them by petting them or distracting them as they are working.

Before a person with disabilities starts their training course, communication is of upmost importance. If a person has a disability, the more we know about their needs, the more we can adjust our resources, our way of teaching and the environment to provide the best service and learning experience. For this reason, we ask learners to fill out a special needs form before commencing their training.

Eight points to consider when a person with disabilities is starting a training course.

1. Rhythm and time of the training.

It may take longer for a person with disabilities to complete an activity / exercise due to their disability or due to side effects from medication or dealing with pain.

They may become tired or lose concentration as more effort is required.

There might be regular absence due to medical appointments.

They may need to take regular breaks for reasons other than tiredness. Perhaps they can’t stay in the same position for long periods of time, or they must have a medical intervention e.g., an injection.

2. Adaptation of the pedagogic support material and tools.

Adaption may be needed when considering one or more of the following disabilities: visual, audio, mobility, psychological.

To avoid tiredness, it is best to alternate between theoretical sessions and practical sessions. Once a theoretical session has been taught, make sure the next session is practical. Then allow for further repetition of the theory and consolidation using different resources if necessary.

Vary the resources regularly to avoid concentration problems: PowerPoint, listening, exercises, discussion, role play, quiz, video, text, interactive games.

Assess what the student might be able to achieve in a set period; it may take longer.

Provide documents to remind learners of important points such as grammar structure, and examples to relieve any memory problems. Do not pressure learners into having to make their own notes.

Guide learners on how they will learn best considering the barriers or difficulties their disability might cause.

3. Adaptation of the way the training is assessed / evaluated.

The evaluation time may take longer.

The method of evaluation may need to be changed, focused more on oral expression for someone who has sight problems or more on written expression for someone with difficulty hearing. Using the Intercountry platform and the EYES test might not be possible for someone who cannot use screens. The online test can be printed out using a large font of more than 4.5mm, and the learner can be accompanied in their use of the site to activate the listening exercises. It might be possible to create an audio-based assessment. For example: how would you respond if someone said “XYZ”?

4. Adaptation of the physical environment.

All the facilities used by the disabled learner need to be considered: the reception, the training room, the toilets, lunch area, break room, parking, and access to public transport.

5. Check the compliance of the training center.

Our centres are compliant (ERP 5) and accessible for people with disabilities. There is a ramp to enter the training centre and each room. We can adapt accessibility so that people with reduced mobility can access the training rooms and if possible, the bathroom. A digital whiteboard, connected to the coach’s computer, can be used to read a document aloud or to present a document on the screen with large font. The photocopiers can also be used to print out documents with a large font (above 4.5mm) if necessary.

6. Adapting the structure and behaviour of the pedagogic team.

Welcoming a learner with disabilities may require a great degree of adaption and thought for the different members of the team, regarding both the organisation and the pedagogic material.

Firstly, the relationship with the prescribing organism or company is of upmost importance. Compatibility of the learning objectives needs to be cross referenced with the medical barriers of the learner with disabilities before advancing.

Individual interview- Learners with disabilities must be given an individual interview. Rules of confidentiality mean you cannot ask a person directly about their disability but instead explain that the more we understand what we can do to help the person the better we can make their learning experience with Intercountry.

The following points will help the learner identify their needs:

  • A visit of the office where they will have their training.
  • Explanation about the planning, contents, methods, and tools used for the training.

The types of questions that could be asked:

  • How do you see your training with Intercountry?
  • What do you need us to do to make the learning experience better for you?
  • Do you have any worries that we can help you to address concerning the coordination / method / frequency / or anything else?
  • Is there anything we need to know about, or how we should react in case of an attack (e.g., epilepsy, diabetes, or a heart problem)?

This would be a suitable time to use the checklist of special needs.

7. Phone contact.

Particular attention needs to be paid if a first contact is made by phone and a learner mentions that they have a disability.

The person answering the phone (training) needs to inform the caller that we have a policy to adapt the training to the needs of a learner with disabilities and that we have a designated contact for disabled learners. They also need to communicate disability information to any other member of the team who will have contact with the future learner (disability contact, sales team, planning, team leader, coach).

8. Face-to-Face contact in our training centres.

If a learner with a disability arrives at the centre, then the reception, trainers, etc., must be prepared to adapt and offer help where necessary. The physical environment may need to be adapted (see point 4 above) e.g., a ramp.

If it is a first visit to the centre, then it is a good moment to visit the facilities; any points of attention can be added to the checklist of needs for the learner if they have not already been added.

There are different points of concern for each type of disability.

1. Welcoming people with motor disabilities.

Main difficulties encountered could include: Moving around; Obstacles in moving around: steps and stairs, slopes; The width of corridors and doors; Standing and waiting for extended periods; Picking up or grasping objects, sometimes speaking.

Overcoming difficulties: Make sure that spaces are wide and clear enough. If possible, provide benches and seats for resting. Inform the person of the level of accessibility of the environment before the start of the training course so that they can judge whether they need assistance.

2. Welcoming people with sensory difficulties.

Main difficulties encountered could include: Oral communication; access to audio information; lack of written information.

Overcoming difficulties: Make sure the person is looking at you when you speak. Speak in front of the person, clearly, at a normal rate, without exaggerating the articulation and without shouting. Keep your sentences short and your vocabulary simple. Use body language to accompany your speech: pointing, facial expressions... offer something to write with. Be sure to display the proposed resources in a visible, legible, and well-contrasted manner.

Some people with hearing difficulties hear low notes better and others high notes.

It is also important to do the training in a room without background noise.

Documentation and coaching feedback need to include all points covered in class.

3. Welcoming people with visual difficulties.

The main difficulties encountered are: Locating places and entrances; Moving around and identifying obstacles; writing and reading. The use of screens may be limited or not possible.

Overcoming difficulties: Introduce yourself verbally. If the environment is noisy, speak clearly in front of the person. Inform the person of the actions you are taking to serve them. Let the person know if you are going away and if you are coming back. If you need to move, offer your arm, and walk a little ahead to guide them, adjusting your pace. Inform the person about the environment, describing precisely and methodically the spatial organization of the place, or table, or training room. If the person is required to sit, guide their hand over the backrest and let them sit down.

Be sure to design appropriate documentation in large print (stick letters, use a minimum font size of 4.5 mm) or pictures, and with good contrast.

The Paris office is equipped with a multimedia projector where text can be enlarged and projected.

In Bordeaux there is a computer screen, the font can be enlarged to at least 4.5 mm, the learner can use the keyboard if they are used to touch typing.

Windows has a tool where the contents of a document can be read aloud.

Prioritize a class that is based on oral activities. Use listening resources and ask questions verbally rather than relying purely on a document.

The above points are suggestions of how to help a learner with one or sometimes more than one disability. Each person is different, and this information is a guide but not exhaustive. The most important thing is to communicate with the learner, they will be able to advise you best on how you can adapt to them and their specific needs.

4. Distance learning training

Our distance learning courses are particularly adapted to visual, hearing or motor disabilities.

In the case of a hearing disability, we recommend the use of a course with videoconferencing to facilitate lip-reading. Video conferencing also allows the user to modulate the sound so that it is optimal and not disturbed by the outside environment.

In a visually impaired situation, we can conduct classes by phone. Our interface also complies with the RGAA3 standard, version 3 of the general accessibility guidelines for administrations.

The interface has settings to adjust the contrast, font, or line spacing. In addition, the user has access to the accessibility tools available on Windows or Apple, such as voice recognition, the magnifying glass, or the narration functions.

The information collected by INTERCOUNTRY, as data controller, is subject to computer processing for the management of your contact request. The recipients of your data are the authorized services of INTERCOUNTRY and their subcontractors for the management of your request.

They will be kept for the period linked to your request in compliance with the applicable legal provisions.

In accordance with the law "Informatique et Libertés" of January 6, 1978 as amended and the General Data Protection Regulation of April 27, 2016, you have the right to access, rectify, delete, limit, portability ( when applicable) and opposition to information that concerns you. You can exercise these rights by contacting the DPO service of INTERCOUNTRY at dpo@intercountry.com

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Copyright Intercountry 2022 | Updated 12/2022