The most important factor in VCIL’s training program is to have it interactively developed by peers for peers. There are training programs being developed by professional trainers, but true to the Independent Living Movement, we have found that when we take responsibility and develop work products based on the experiences of those who needed and used these services, we end up with a better product.
The purpose for developing three types of training is to acknowledge that each person using a PA has unique questions, concerns and learning styles. As much as possible, the training options VCIL offers are intended to reflect these different interests, needs and learning preferences.
Peers identified a range of training issues but they also told us how they wanted to learn. There was a strong interest in self-help materials, interest in one-on-one support and a desire for shared learning and peer support opportunities.
- Self-Training — The topics of management are listed in this Toolkit for you to choose from either a section at a time or the entire book of materials. The materials will be sent to your home. The materials for each topic are taken from a variety of already published manuals that make up the VCIL PAS Toolkit Library. This approach will give you an opportunity to use the materials as presented in the packet and if you particularly like a style of presentation, you can check out that title from the library to see how they approach the overall management of PAs.
- One-on-One Training, (with or without your attendant) — With this choice, you would request that a Peer Advocacy Counselor from VCIL or a peer mentor experienced in PA management talk with you about your specific needs and help you design a training program suited to what you need at that time. You may only want to talk about and practice advertising, or you may need some additional help to state your needs and how your PA can help you into a workable format for the two of you to use. Or, you may want some help with communication issues. The PAC or an experienced peer mentor will call you and may make an appointment to come to your home or meet you in an accessible meeting space near where you live.
- Group Workshops — for those who enjoy group learning sessions, we hope to offer periodic workshops covering all the topics necessary for hiring and managing your attendant. These would be spread out over several sessions and facilitated by peers who use attendant care services themselves. For those who tend to feel isolated, this is a great chance to get out and see how others deal with difficult circumstances or just share information.