Staying calm was one of the most important devices European Platform of Self-Advocates (EPSA) board members gave trainers on inclusive learning during a New Paths to InclUsion (NPI) meeting which took place in Belfast on 14 May, 2014.
Inclusive Learning and Training is one of the three key challenges in the NPI Network, and an important element in person-centred planning. In order to ensure the inclusiveness of the project, people with disabilities themselves often evaluate and improve project deliverables. Therefore, a focus group of EPSA board members analysed a handbook on inclusive training and made valuable suggestions for improvement, particularly regarding guidelines, checklists and evaluation sheets.
Apart from several items that should be added to the handbook, the EPSA board also proposed three guidelines for trainers. They believed that for a training to be truly inclusive:
- All participants should be treated equally
- Efforts should be made to include everyone
- Trainers should ask for feedback during the training, and not just at the end
Self-advocates also though that the worst things a trainer could do are to:
- Come unprepared
- Patronize participants with learning disabilities
- Speak fast and in complicated language
Also, a trainer should never forget to:
- Take the opinion of participants with learning disabilities seriously and act based on it
- Prepare the training with persons with learning disabilities or use co-training and tandem-training with peer-trainers
- Try to be entertaining
Most importantly, EPSA board members encouraged trainers to not be afraid of making mistakes, but prepare to listen, learn and change. EPSA members emphasized their wish to be continuously and directly involved in European projects, helping make them more inclusive for people with disabilities.