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Rota service providers complete NMC-UCEDD (July 3, 2017)

(NMC) The University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities at Northern Marianas College recently offered a two-day training course in Basic American Sign Language and Deaf culture in Rota.

Participants of the courses included members of the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs, the Rota fire department, the Rota police department, and the CNMI UCEDD. Upon completion of the course, participants received certificates from NMC's Community Development Institute and UCEDD. There were 15 people who attended the training workshop.

Taught by Ivyanne Ealy, a certified ASL instructor at the NMC Community Development Institute, the purpose of the ASL Training is to help service providers develop skills to effectively engage and communicate with deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals. Along with the basics such as the manual alphabet and numbers; general vocabulary and signs largely associated with the workplace of service providers (e.g., medical and social work-related) were taught. An overview of deaf culture and resources for communicating and advocating for the deaf was also included in the training.

This was the third time the Basic ASL course was held in Rota.

"We will continue to step up the number of training opportunities that are provided in Rota," said NMC President Dr. Carmen Fernandez. Previous ASL trainings on Rota were held in January and March 2017.

Raquelita Ramos, who works for the Department of Cultural and Community Affairs said, "I learned a lot about sign language because before this training, I knew nothing about sign language so this was a good learning experience for myself."

Another participant, Fire fighter/EMT DJ Atalig said that the ASL training was fun, helpful, and really relates to the type of work they do.

"In the event I encounter a situation dealing with a deaf person, I feel a little more at ease knowing some of the basic sign language," Atalig said. "I definitely would recommend the ASL training to other people to take it, and I heard there's a level two and I hope that they will bring that training to Rota."

More training workshops are already being planned for Saipan, Tinian, and Rota to be held in the next few months. In addition to the Basic ASL class, an Intermediate ASL class will also be offered.

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