Types of Mentor Programs
Several types of mentor programs can be developed depending on the desired outcomes. These can include:
1) Deaf Life Skills Mentoring – This involved working with young deaf people to assist them in developing “Deaf Specific Life Skills”. This might include using appropriate technology, using the national relay service, dealing with difficult communication situations or developing assertiveness to disclose deafness in appropriate situations.
2) Communications mentoring – This is offered to families. Deaf mentors attended the family home and assisted the family to develop strong inclusive communication strategies simply be demonstrating good communication and sharing life experience with the families. This program often included extended families such as grandparents or close family friends. This program also provided an avenue for families to develop their Auslan through conversing with an appropriate Auslan language model. The program was not limited to only signing deaf but also included young people whose primary mode of communication is speech. The aim, at all times, was to assist families to develop better communication and a more inclusive family unit. This is crucial for young deaf people.
Mentoring is a flexible concept. Programs are tailored for the needs of individuals and their families.
Process for Developing a Mentor Program
1) Meet with the client and other important people in clients life to identify key areas that will benefit the clients development.
2) Establish and agree on outcomes for the mentor program. Ideally the client will have a major input into this process.
3) Identify the mentor best able to assist the client to achieve the identified outcomes.
Once the assessment has been completed a 12 week program will be drafted. The outcomes and method to achieve these outcomes will be clearly outlined in this draft. Once the program is finalized a meeting will be established with the identified mentor. This meeting is to ensure the mentor understands the outcomes that are to be achieved and the method for achieving these outcomes.
Evaluating the Mentor Program
To ensure the success of the mentor program it is essential that ongoing evaluation occur. It is recommended that evaluation meetings occur at 3 weeks, 6 weeks and 12 weeks. In this way the program can be adjusted if needed. More importantly the evaluation meetings allow for celebration of successful outcomes of the program.
At the completion of the final evaluation meeting a comprehensive report will be provided including documentation of achieved outcomes recommendations for further action as agreed. Evaluation will also involve fortnightly supervision meetings with the mentor. These sessions will typically run for 30 minutes. During supervision the mentor will be provided with support and advice. Any issues that arise during supervision that need addressing will be disclosed and discussed with yourself.
Closure of the Mentor Program
It is important that any mentor program have closure. The process will be facilitated. Closure typically involves not just ending the program but celebrating achieved outcomes. It is important to note that a mentor program has an enormous impact on the life and development of the mentee. Not all Mentor/Mentee relationships are successful. It may be that during the evaluation process it becomes clear that the program is not achieving the desired outcomes. If this is the case appropriate and sensitive advice will be provided.
Training the Mentor
As part of this program training will be provided to the mentor addressing:
a) The role of the mentor.
b) Establishing relationship with the mentee.
c) Addressing difficulties that may arise during the mentor program.
d) Effective closure of the mentor program.
e) Legal requirements of the mentor.
As you can see the process is a detailed one. This is essential to ensure the success of any mentor program. Sign Language Australia want to ensure the best possible outcomes.
The following is an example of pricing for a 12 week program
Participant consultation for mentor set up 4hrs x $55 =$220
Design of mentor program with recommendations 4hrs x $55 =$220
Training and Supervision of Mentor 4hrs x $55 =$220
Implementation of Mentor Program Direct service agreement with identified mentor over 12 weeks; 12 week x 2 hours = 24hrs x $55 =$220
In this example $660 is payable to Sign Language Australia and $1320 is payable to the mentor as per service agreement.
All prices are as per NDIS Price Guide (Aug 2015)