Natianal VR Focus

After the foundational efforts of TIEM’s National Center Initiatives (2005-2010) in the building of the Consortium stabilized, we increased our attention to the needs and concerns of the specific target audience of RSA, the VR consumer. Although our work of the first 3 years included these needs and concerns, as we learned more about the changing profile of this target audience, we championed initiatives both Consortium-wide and within TIEM’s National Center, that target the ever-more specialized needs of this consumer group.

Interpreting Needs of VR Consumers – The Changing Profile
As identified in various early needs assessments, these include the national need for interpreters working in languages in addition to ASL and spoken English. They also included a need for ever-increasing focus on recruiting, tracking, and preparing interpreters from diverse races, ethnicities, and cultures. We worked with the NMIP group to review their 1997 & 1998 demographic study of national trends, and to conduct an updated demographic survey with them.

TIEM’s National Center Initiatives (2005-2010) has long championed the need for trilingual training of interpreters, sponsoring training and training evaluation for Spanish/ASL/English training.

One essential support service needed for trilingual training is translation. Long hoping to establish effective practices for ASL/English translation, TIEM’s National Center Initiatives (2005-2010) has continued to search for partners in developing such practices. We hope to be joining the new RID Task Force in Translation in the upcoming year.

Needs of VR Interpreters
Several NCIEC Needs Assessments have identified the dearth of interpreters working in VR settings. Most recently, the 2009 VR Needs Assessment Report highlights the dearth of qualified interpreters in these settings, and some of the reasons for that. In response to these recent findings, the NCIEC Needs Assessment Team, directed by Dr. Betsy Winston and Dr. Dennis Cokely of the National Center, is initiating a focused data collection effort to identify the needs of VR interpreters. Result of this effort will further inform the future direction and development of educational opportunities, products, and materials.
Resources for Increasing the number of Qualified Interpreters in VR Settings
The National Center will coordinate the review of the Interpreting in VR Settings modules developed by previous RSA funding. Once revised, these modules will be available for training of VR interpreters. This project is being coordinated with the participation of CATIE and MARIE.

Results from the VR Interpreters Needs Assessment Survey was intended to inform planning and development of future training, educational, and mentoring opportunities for VR interpreters.

Outreach Network with VR Agencies
The National Center expanded its efforts to network with the vast array of agencies and organizations working to support VR consumers. We continue to build and expand the collaborative relationships established with RSA and its funded resources. Active networking and interaction in Year 5 include the dissemination of the Interpreting Needs Assessment in VR Settings report was disseminated via the NCIEC website, and the presentation of the findings CSAVR Committee on Deafness at annual fall meeting (November 2009).

Active dissemination continued through Year 5, and included an RSA-hosted national webinar for SCDs, RCDs, PEPNet, and NCIEC members (February 2010). A significant goal of this webinar, in addition to disseminating the current findings, was to identify interpreters currently working in VR-related settings. A Community of Practice online forum was planned to encourage and enhance ongoing discussion and input from these interpreters following the webinar. Outreach activities have begun with a variety of groups and agencies, including:

National Clearinghouse of Rehabilitation Training Materials (NCRTM)

Vocational Rehabilitation RSA Grant Directors

Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR) Technical Assistance & Continuing Education (TACE) & National Technical Assistance Center (NTAC) centers

Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) – Vocational Rehabilitation