By Ariana Estes
When did you first learn about disabilities?
Was it a positive experience?
These questions may be something you have never taken a moment to think about, but during Lutheran Family Service’s Disabilities Awareness Training, participants are asked to share their earliest experience.
The training was developed by LFSVA Vice President of Program Operations Lisa Morgan and several staff members. LFSVA employees working to engage community partners found that the general community still lacks awareness and understanding about developmental disabilities.
“There continues to be a great deal of misunderstanding and discomfort around the topic of developmental disabilities, including the right terminology, understanding abilities, support needs, etiquette and more,” says Morgan.
The training curriculum covers a brief history of treatment and rights of individuals with disabilities, understanding people-first language, exploring real-life scenarios and disabilities etiquette. LFSVA staff members across the state are available to provide the training.
Morgan believes that anyone can benefit from Disabilities Awareness Training. Lutheran churches in both Fredericksburg and Salem, an employer in Northern Virginia, and a community group in Harrisonburg are among those who have received the training since the initiative began in late February.
“We hope people will come away with a greater comfort level and a better understanding of people with disabilities. A little bit of knowledge can go a long way to open doors for people with disabilities.”
If you are interested in scheduling a Disabilities Awareness Training session for your company, church, school or community organization, contact Lisa Morgan at firstname.lastname@example.org