Mental Health Workshop in Alabama

Alabama Department of Mental Health-Office of Deaf Services



Optimizing Outcomes:

Strategies for Working with Deaf Consumers

with Behavioral Disorders and/or Mental Illness


Friday, February 24, 2017

9:30 am to 4:00 pm (5.5 clock hours)


Registration fee: $35 paid prior to February 1, 2017

$45 if paid after February 1, 2017 or at the door

$20 registration for full time ITP or Clinical Graduate Students (non-certified/licensed, non-working)

Registration waived for ADMH staff, CMHCs/SA Center contract providers, and QMHIs

*Lunch on your own



Jag Dawadi and Kent Schafer



Alabama Public Library

6030 Monticello Drive, Montgomery, AL


This session is targeted at service providers who specialize or want to learn about in some aspect of deafness (counselors, therapists, rehabilitation specialists, substance abuse providers, developmental disability providers, direct care staff, teachers, and interpreters, etc.).   Dawadi and Schafer will discuss various aspects of strategies working with individuals with behavior disorders and/or mental illness and how it impacts individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, their family, and the deaf community.  This course will include a discussion of barriers that deaf/hard of hearing individuals face and unique characteristics of the population, best practice related to clinical approaches, interpreter strategies and techniques, behavior modifications and approaches for deaf and hard of hearing individuals and an exploration of resources available.


During this training, participants will have a thorough understanding of strategies used to modify behavior as it pertains to language dysfluency and distortion among the Deaf population and their unique service needs, preparing to work with deaf and hard of hearing persons through appropriate therapeutic approaches and resources.

•             Develop population specific skills in recognizing thoughts, behaviors, cultural influences of language dysfluency in the deaf population

•             Discuss the barriers that are present for the deaf population

•             Recognizing and shaping thought processes

•             noticing behaviors that are unique to the language dysfluent or distorted consumer

•             differentiating cultures of the deaf and hearing populations

•             Discussing interpreting/counseling dilemmas that emerge from this field of work


After the training, participants will be able to:

•             identify different perceptions of social thinking deficits that affect the learning process for a person who relies on learning through Sign Language.

•             differentiate language from behavior processes.

•             identify behavior techniques unique to the cultural and linguistic minority of Deafness will be recalled.

•             discuss simultaneous and consecutive strategies and discuss strategies on how to incorporate interpreters into the service plan as a consultant.

•             analyze and discuss behavior strategies and best practices related to the unique risk factors presented with hearing loss

•             discuss case studies that incorporate challenges of adjusting language delivery services with difficult to serve deaf consumers.


5.5 Clinical Hours (0.55 CEs).   0.55 RID CEUS provided for Interpreters.



Currently eligible Drug/Alcohol Counselors, Certified Mental Health Professionals, Nurses, Social Workers, Counselors,

Case Managers, Psychologists, Domestic Violence Providers, MH and SA Providers, Group Home Staff,

Interpreters in Mental Health, Community Interpreters, Educational Interpreters, etc.


Friday, February 24, 2017 (All Providers)


Jag Dawadi, MS, MAC, graduated from RIT with a bachelor’s degree in Social Work in 1998. Upon graduation, he ventured out far north in Alaska where he worked for six years as an itinerant worker bringing mental health and addiction services to consumer’s home communities, often flying with bush pilots. It was while in Alaska he witnessed firsthand chronic fragmentation in mental health and substance abuse service delivery which led to pursuit of his master’s degree in community mental health counseling with specialization in co-occurring psychiatric and substance use disorders at Southern New Hampshire University, graduating in 2004. Since then he has been a staunch advocate of integrated mental health and substance abuse services delivery from admission, treatment, discharge and aftercare, for deaf and hard of hearing including hearing individuals who present with two or more psychiatric disorders. Most recently he worked for 11 and a half years at a specialized residential treatment center in Florida where ‘hard to treat’ deaf patients with variety of psychiatric, behavioral and addictive disorders were admitted from almost all States in the country. His career has lead him to Sweet Home Alabama as a Regional Therapist in the Mobile area, where the hope is to continue promoting integrated services delivery for our consumers and training to future clinicians or interested parties.


Kent Shafer, MA, MSE, NCSP, started his career with his first master’s in Alcohol and Substance Abuse from University of Illinois at Springfield. He worked with deaf adults who were dealing with addiction or require prevention education. He transitioned to working with youth with his second master’s in Education/Psychology from University of Wisconsin at Whitewater. He currently is a nationally certified school psychologist working on his dissertation to complete the Educational Specialist requirement.  He currently consults on mental health policy and interventions to a variety of youth based programs. When not working on his PhD dissertation for the University of Alabama, or working as a psychologist for the Alabama Department of Mental Health at Bryce Psychiatric Hospital, he can be found somewhere chucking round plastic objects towards metal encaged baskets in the sport called disc golf or spending time with his wife and four year old daughter.