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“Letting Deaf Communities Lead: 8 Strategies for System Change” Video

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Text insert appears: Letting Deaf Communities Lead: 8 Strategies For System Change.

Diego, a Chicanx non-binary person wearing a black shirt signs.

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Letting Deaf Communities Lead: 8 Strategies For System Change. Community-led system change.

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Text insert appears: Community-led system change.

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Community-led system change.

There are many local communities throughout the United States. And each of those community members know the challenges and barriers they face when people want to change policy, participate in strategic planning, or establish programs for the deaf community to increase opportunities or decrease barriers. That process requires inclusion of the deaf community themselves, their knowledge, ideas and lived experiences. That will lead to success. This is why NDC wholeheartedly values local community members, allowing them to take the lead in these vital efforts.

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Text insert appears: Engage for Change | local

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At NDC, we have a program called Engage for Change | local. This project is community-led with the support of NDC and a local team. Folks are invited to a gathering in their area where they brainstorm, strategize, and share ideas and solutions focused on improving deaf outcomes in their community. The information shared by the community is then compiled at NDC, where a team of researchers diligently review the data.

While there are lots of great ideas, eight common strategies across many local communities have surfaced to the top of the list.

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Two pages of “Leading the Way” appear.

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After reviewing these eight strategies, if you feel you can apply these in your community, go ahead and try them out.

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Text insert appears: What can your community do to increase deaf success?

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What can your community do to increase deaf success? NDC has compiled this list of eight strategies along with examples of how they could be applied in your own community.

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Text insert appears: 1) Engage in system change strategies

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Number one, engage in system change strategies. First, identify and address systemic oppression against deaf people with marginalized identities and advocate for stronger systems, policies, and legislation that support deaf people.

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Text insert appears: 2) Improve partnerships and resource sharing

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Number two, improve partnerships and resource sharing. First, centralize community resources by creating a one-stop shop to make it easier for people to locate information. Then organizations, programs, and community members must partner together and build relationships for enhanced networking and opportunities.

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Text insert appears: 3) Strengthen transition planning

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Number three, strengthen transition planning. Improve transition programs and schools, including collaborations with Vocational Rehabilitation programs. And increase awareness of opportunities and pathways after high school.

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Text insert appears: 4) Build communities for support for deaf youth

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Number four, build communities for support for deaf youth. Create and support mentoring programs and opportunities for deaf youth, and provide students with access to peer support and relationship building.

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Text insert appears: 5) Strengthen youth skills

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Number five, strengthen youth skills. Foster self-determination and independent living skills. Increase young people's knowledge of legal rights and encourage development of self advocacy.

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Text insert appears: 6) Support families

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Number six, support families. Establish early and continuous outreach to families to develop community networks and strengthen communication skills at home.

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Text insert appears: 7) Improve access to programs and services for deaf youth

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Number seven, improve access to programs and services for deaf youth. Increase access to after-school activities for deaf youth, like sports, clubs, camps, and internships. And provide more educational opportunities for deaf youth.

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Text insert appears: 8) Provide professional development

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Number eight, provide professional development. Provide cultural responsiveness training to improve professionals' capacity to support deaf youth from various communities and backgrounds. Educate professionals in legal, medical, and professional fields about deaf culture, sign language, and accommodations.

This project has given us a wide breadth of data and a clear perspective of how many local deaf communities share common challenges and solutions. However, when we focus on the local level, we see how each community has its own unique sets of challenges and ways they approach solutions. This project also elicits a reminder to us about the power of community.

Curious to learn more about this project?

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There are three ways.

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Text insert appears: Learn more about community-led system change

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You can read the text version of this video.

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Text insert appears: nationaldeafcenter.org/letdeaflead

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You can visit our website to learn more about Engage for Change local.

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Text insert appears: nationaldeafcenter.org/local

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Or you could read the full research article at the American Annals of the Deaf.

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Text insert appears: gupress.gallaudet.edu/annals

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NDC Logo appears above text, black lettering on a white background: nationaldeafcenter.org

“This video was developed under a jointly-funded grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) and the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) #HD326D160001. However, the contents do not necessarily represent the positions or policies of the federal government.”

Next to it, three logos appear. The first reads “IDEAs that Work” with an arrow drawing a circle from “IDEAs” to “Work” and the words “U.S. Office of Special Education Programs”. The second logo shows a red-and-blue star with text next to it that reads “TA&D”. The third logo shows a blue circle around a tree. In the blue circle are the words “U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION.”

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