Training for Community Living

The RTC/CL provides a variety of trainings to enhance the ability of persons with disabilities to live independently and in the community. 

Trainings that are directly related to the research and intervention projects are described below as project-specific and Center-wide trainings.

Other stand-alone trainings will be offered through various venues.

Project-Specific and Center-Wide Trainings

The following trainings are directed to specific target audiences and will be conducted at individual project sites, beginning in 2013. Results of the trainings will be shared with other researchers and practitioners for other applications of the trainings. 

Some of these trainings may be delivered through media that can be archived for wider use, including webcasts, virtual meetings, and teleconferences; videos; and podcasts.

Health Access for Independent Living, R-7

Works with Centers for Independent Living to help consumers gain information and develop skills to manage their own health outcomes.

Development and Testing of an Informal Personal Assistant Training, R-8 

Provides training for informal (unpaid) personal assistants and people with disabilities who receive personal assistance services (PAS).


Home Usability for People with Disabilities, R-9 

Provides training and tools that community-based agencies can use to help consumers improve the usability of their homes.


Building Capacity for Full Community Participation, R-11

Trains CIL staff in 1) skills related to community collaboration (using the Community Tool Box Curriculum for Promoting Community Health and Development) and 2) civic engagement skills.


Research Knowledge Capacity Building

The Center’s staff works to involve undergraduate and graduate students with and without disabilities as new scientists in the field of disability research. Principal investigators mentor a new generation of researchers by holding weekly research meetings with graduate students to discuss Center projects and other disability research. In addition, monthly research seminars will be convened to bring in speakers or discuss new and emerging research ideas. Through participation, individuals pursuing a master’s or doctoral degree (both graduate research assistants and other graduate students) will receive guidance from project directors as well as peer support from their student colleagues.

Stand-Alone Trainings

These trainings will be delivered throughout the lifetime of the RTC/CL grant. 

Action Letter Portfolio (ALP) for Community Living 

This training program teaches participants how to write effective advocacy letters. The goal of the training is to empower people with disabilities and their families to use action letters to successfully advocate to remove barriers for greater participation in the community. This training may also be used with advocates, independent living professionals and allied health professionals, who will gain a fuller understanding of the issues their clients face. The ALP training was developed in consultation with CILs across the U.S. and has been empirically tested. It contains worksheets, exemplary letters and disability resources. 


Leadership Training for People with Disabilities 

The goal of this training program is to provide people with disabilities the knowledge and skills to participate on community committees, task forces, advisory boards, and in other leadership development opportunities. Participation on organizational boards, such as those for CILs, Housing Authorities, and local transportation entities, can be an effective way for people with disabilities to influence policies and practices related to housing, transportation and other areas essential to community living. Leadership and board membership also helps participants develop new networks and create new social capital opportunities. The committee and board training curriculum will be available in the Tools for Empowerment and Community Change section of the Community Tool Box.


Research 101: Using Research to Make Community Change

The goal of this training is to give people with disabilities a basic understanding of research and how to use it to change community programs, practices and policies. One example of this is teaching consumers how to implement the Community Health Environment Checklist (CHEC) to and collect data on the lack of ADA compliance in local businesses and then to use these data to advocate for ADA compliance and enforcement by local building inspectors. This training is based upon The Know Way Guide to Making Community Change.


Taking Evidence-Based Science to the Statehouse – Knowledge Brokering with Public Policy Makers 

This training is part of our research knowledge capacity building effort directed at RTC/CL researchers, graduate students, university faculty, and policymakers. Its learning objectives will focus on educating researchers to: 1) understand how to develop, nurture, and sustain relationships with policymakers, 2) understand how to work with policymakers and the organizational structure of government, and 3) become familiar with the elements of a policy brief.  This training is based on an existing model set forth by the Hospital for Sick Children/Centre for Addiction  and Mental Health, “Understanding the Policy Context.”


Peer-to-Peer Youth Training

The goal of this peer mentoring project is to increase and enhance community participation by youth with disabilities and to nurture future leaders of the independent living movement. It builds on a well-known original peer-to-peer program that did not include outreach to youth. Recognizing this, our previous center, RTC/MICL, collaborated with APRIL to produce peer-to-peer materials and training directed toward youth with disabilities. The RTC/CL will continue this partnership with a total of eleven trainings given at eleven CILs over the five year period. We anticipate over 50 youths will benefit from this youth-led initiative.