The Community Handbook on Developing a Literacy and Disability Awareness Training Program has been developed for the Independent Living Resource Centres in Canada as the second phase of CAILC's National Literacy Project. The Handbook will enable Centres and other consumer1 groups to further their efforts towards empowering individuals with disabilities to make their own choices and participate in the community. The Handbook will increase awareness of literacy issues as they relate to people with disabilities. The Handbook will look at this issue from two sides.
To begin with, the Handbook will discuss methods which will make Independent Living Resource Centres (ILRCs) more accessible to consumers with low literacy skills. This includes: the paper produced, posters, attitudes and expectations. As well, it will explain why Independent Living Resource Centres should become involved in the important issue of literacy.
Then, the Handbook will show how Independent Living Resource Centres can develop a Disability Awareness Workshop to be delivered to community literacy programs. From the Disability Awareness Workshops, an exchange of information can develop between literacy programs and the ILRCs with mutual benefits.
Partnerships between the Independent Living Resource Centre and community literacy programs could be developed from these contacts. By bringing together staff and volunteers of ILRCs and workers in the literacy field, we can begin to look at solutions to the problems surrounding the issue of literacy and disability.
The following three stories are written by consumers about their experience with the education system. The stories are illustrations of some of the typical barriers people with disabilities face when seeking literacy skills. There are many other stories and each story is unique. Some of the consumers who visit an Independent Living Resource Centre will have low literacy skills. In order for the Centre to encourage and enable consumers to take control of their lives, the Centre must respond to the issue of literacy.