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200 employees trained on disability sensitivity communication skills

By Ana V. Ibáñez Prieto - Mar 15,2018 - Last updated at Mar 15,2018

AMMAN — Some 200 employees from the public and the private sector are being trained in ways to effectively communicate with persons with disabilities (PWD) through a programme implemented by the Higher Council for the Affairs of Persons with Disabilities (HCD). 

“A very positive moment followed the endorsement of the 2017 Law of People with Disabilities,” HCD Secretary General Muhannad Azzeh told The Jordan Times, recalling how “several governmental institutions came forward and asked us [HCD] what we require from them and how they can do it — so we decided to cooperate together.”
The trainings include introductory sessions on the provisions of the Law of People with Disabilities, in addition to interactive tools that highlight the correct language and terminology employees must use when speaking to PWD, according to Azzeh. 

“We also present the trainees with real stories of users with disabilities in order to educate them on their experience and challenges they face,” he added, noting that the aim is “for employees to foresee the issues faced by PWD and work to overcome them”.

Asked about the reasons behind the training, Azzeh said “sometimes, employees are quite hesitant to offer assistance to PWD because they just don't know how to,” highlighting that “there is a whole set of stereotypes surrounding PWD coming from the media, and it is our duty as the council to raise awareness”.

“Our first target group was the banks’ staff and the results were very positive,” Azzeh said, adding that the HCD has recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Jordan Institute of Banking Studies for more workers to get the training.
In addition, several officials at the ministries of transport and social development have participated in the programme so far, and new sessions are set for the health and education sectors. 

Azzeh said that the HCD recently started to conduct field visits in Irbid and Karak Governorates to “put the disability issues on their agenda and ensure that they are addressed in their manual of needs”.
In this regard, Ahmad Shtayyat, founder of the initiative "Accept me as I am" for the social integration of children with disabilities, told The Jordan Times that “there is a difference in the level of services and facilities offered to PWD between the municipalities and the capital”, criticising that “the infrastructure is not fully equipped to serve PWD, and there is a lack of equipment compared to Amman governorate”.

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