For Our Families
Our community is created for deafplus adults to thrive and grow
Our center aims to provide high-quality services that meet the needs of deafplus adults or deaf adults with disabilities to lead a happier, more fulfilling life on their own terms.
The Deafplus Adult Community is a non-profit organization for deaf adults with disabilities (“deafplus”) and their family members who live in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area. We often work with case managers or other liaisons (Regional Center and State Developmental Centers) to refer eligible deafplus adults to our program.
Our dedicated staff is fluent in American Sign Language. We value 100% accessible communication between our clients, instructors, and other community members — all focused on our deafplus clients’ individual needs. Our goal is to connect deafplus adults to resources and services in a way that will foster better communication and support them in living a fuller life.
We hope you will choose our unique program to best serve your deafplus loved ones if you’re a family member or your clients, if you’re a case manager.
Handling Behavior Challenges
Our staff is trained to handle behavior challenges in a positive, supportive environment. Here’s what we do:
Certified in Crisis Prevention Intervention
Each staff is certified in Crisis Prevention Intervention (CPI) or a similar program. We know how to use proven strategies to safely defuse anxious, hostile, or violent behavior at the earliest possible stage.
Our “circle of support” promotes the building of healthy relationships for better and positive social responses. We teach different ways to express oneself in a positive, safe manner.
Our DPAC Behavior Consultant is responsible for strategies and monitoring our deafplus clients’ behavior. We have an “Emergency Behavioral Plan” developed for each client within 30 days of admission into our program.
If your deafplus loved ones have behavior challenges, we will work with you to create a preventative and reactive strategy to minimize or prevent behavior challenges.
Mental Health Support
The mental health of our deafplus adults are very important to us. We work with staff and family members to monitor their mental health.
Our structured group sessions are held regularly to encourage our clients to practice mental health well-being (stress reduction, conflict resolution, and self-assertiveness skills). These help to develop habits to prevent worsening mental health challenges and relapses from stress.
Antonio is one of the three original consumers that enrolled when Deaf Plus Adult Community (DPAC) opened its doors in 2013. Antonio is profoundly deaf, has autism, mild Cerebral palsy (CP) on the right side of his body and has significant cognitive delays. When Antonio first started attending DPAC he was an individual who was extremely withdrawn and seldom looked up, he was trapped inside a rigid shell of autism with minimal communication skills which resulted in communicating his needs through physical aggression a lot of the time. His challenging disabilities prevented him from seeing the world, his immediate surroundings and the hardest one for his family was his emotional detachment because he was distant and not affectionate with his own parents, brother and extended family.
Living with Autism has been the hardest challenge for Antonio, he has a hard time with a change in his routine in general but thrives with routine. He heavily relies on the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) and a clear routine schedule to communicate and predict what is happening next. DPAC has worked tirelessly to increase his ability to express his emotions and/or needs through Sign Language and PECS. The PECS system has been a great tool for Antonio to use in addition to ASL since his (CP) limits him from signing clearly. Seven years later, Antonio has thrived immensely! Now he can express his needs through signing, writing, or typing using the notepad on his iTouch device.
At home with his family, he initiates conversation, by asking for his favorite things and even negotiates what he should get next. If you ask Antonio what he loves, he will sign “Spiderman”. He is a fanatic of superheroes. He loves going to the movies with his dad and Sunday dinners at his Grandparent’s house. He is starting to understand family relationships as well and is more tolerant of changes in his schedule. Antonio’s mother is thrilled with the amazing growth she sees in him and frequently shares the positive changes in Antonio’s life with others. He is much happier knowing he is able to express his basic needs through different tools. Antonio continues to amaze everyone; he is a completely different individual who is now enjoying many aspects of his life even with such challenging limitations.
Our "Employment First" Values
“Employment First” is a movement that the Office of Disability Employment Policy (OEDP) introduced back in 2015 to help people with disabilities find real employment opportunities for equal pay. DPAC supports the “Employment First” initiative and believes that:
Everyone has employable strengths and can work in jobs well-matched to their interests and abilities with the right support.
People with disabilities are the experts about themselves and should play a leading role in the decisions about their lives.
Mutually Beneficial Partnerships
Companies who hire people with disabilities will profit in many ways, including financially.
Vocational Training and Employment Opportunities
Our amazing full-time staff from our Supported Employment Program (SEP)* and Tailored Day Services (TDS) ** program is on a mission to empower our deafplus adults to earn a competitive wage in meaningful employment, including the possibility of permanent employment.
We work with our deafplus members identify their strengths, interests and aptitudes, and provide them with resources to find jobs or internships that match their needs. We provide career guidance, resume reviews, job assistance, career exploration, and networking opportunities.
We have partnered with a number of employers for job opportunities. These jobs our deafplus adults have found are not only rewarding, they also support our employers, community, and culture.
* SEP is for deafplus adults wanting to be part of our day program (part or full-time) and work their jobs other hours.
**TDS is for deafplus adults using all of their time searching for a job and maintaining that job.
Job Opportunities for Deafplus Adults
We have a structured program and curriculum (“Job Club”) to prepare our deafplus adults to seek employment. The curriculum includes:
We work with our deafplus adults to develop a profile of their interests and potential jobs they are interested in. We have a variety of tools to help them to think about their basic work skills, habits, values, and abilities. Our goal is to help them to get a job best matched to their abilities and interests!
They can also do multiple internships to “try out” before deciding on their ideal future job.
We have our own “Job Developer” to develop, review, and tailor each deafplus client’s resume to each job posting.
Interview and Social Skills Practice
The key to winning an ideal job is to successfully pass an interview. We offer mock interview sessions and train our clients to accurately respond to questions from a potential employer.
We dedicate training on developing appropriate work place behavior, including social cues, body language, good manners, and avoiding potential conflicts.
We expect our deafplus clients to get to their jobs independently when they’ve found a job.
Our “travel trainer” will assess different travel options, provide training in using public transportation, and make several trips with a client to check the client can travel safely on their own.
John's Success Story
John has been deaf and has a special ability since he was born. He attended California School for the Deaf in Berkeley and after graduation, he was employed as a custodian and was an expert at buffing floors in San Francisco for a long time. Once the business folded, he became unemployed for many years.
He was sad and felt lonely so he joined an art day program to fill his lonesome days. He continued on his passion for wanting to find work again. John was introduced to Deaf Plus Adult Community at the beginning of 2016 and flourished from being around other deaf peers and deaf staff members who could sign with him full time at the day program. His smile would light up a room with enthusiasm for learning new things. In August 2017, John expressed interest in being employed and was trained by Deaf Job Coaches who provided supported employment services including job readiness skills and interview preparation sessions, which landed him a job.
John was successfully employed at Cheese-E-Chuck in Newark as a janitor. He excelled and was recognized as the best employee of the year (2018-2019). He was then promoted and became a valuable Maintenance Worker on his team. With the closure during the pandemic, he is now happily employed with the Cheesecake Factory as a sous chef.
John’s life is not defined by his disability and age. He lives life just like anyone of us without a disability would live our life.
We are proud of our partners who have employed our deafplus members and support us every step of the way.
Frequently asked Questions
I’m interested! What is the process to get started?
1. Refer eligible deafplus adults to us:
Regional Center Case Managers or other case managers with deafplus clients can start the referral process if they believe DPAC can meet their needs in its program.
Family members of deafplus adults should get in touch with their case managers to start the referral process if they believe DPAC can meet their needs in its program.
2. Assessment and approval:
Deafplus adults can be placed into our program if the following conditions are met:
● The authorized representative of the deafplus adult
● Regional Center Case Manager
● DPAC determines the deafplus adult meets the eligibility
All three parties must agree the DPAC program is appropriate for the deafplus adult.
3. Intake procedure
Once approved, we start our intake procedure to orient the deafplus adult in our program for a successful start.
Who is eligible for our DPAC program?
We have a ongoing evolving rules regading to eligbility but at the time these are our requirements. If you have more questions, please contact us to see if your deafplus adults or client qualify.
- Deafplus adults are eligible for our program if they meet the following requirements*:
- Aged 18+ or older
- Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing or Deafblind
- Prefer tactile communication or sign language
- A desire to participate in our day program
- Successful approval from the representative of the deafplus client and regional center case manager
- Not eligible for same or similar services from an agency funded to provide these to the general public (except programs jointly funded by generic agencies and regional center)
- Transition from a state developmental facility or locked community
*DPAC makes admission decisions without regard to race, religious creed, gender, national origin, ancestry, disability, age, marital status, sexual orientation, medical condition or any other characteristic protected from discrimination by federal, state or local law.
DPAC is a non-medical facility.
Is DPAC a medical facility? What if my deafplus family member or client has medical needs?
DPAC is a not a medical facility. But we do accept deafplus adults with chronic and stable medical conditions. However, if your deafplus family member has medical needs requiring the presence of licensed medical staff, we unfortunately cannot offer a place in our program. All participants in our program must be able to safely self-administer all medicines.
We require separate prescription from a doctor if the medicine must be taken during program hours. All medicines will be labeled and locked in a cabinet. We do not give over-the-counter drugs without a doctor’s permission.
Our staff is trained and certified in Adult First Aid and CPR when a need arises for it. In cases of emergency, the staff will call 911 for assistance.
What is your policy if my deafplus family member or client shows signs of illness?
Our staff will report to the directors or lead teachers for any signs of illness, so that the family will be notified and arranged for a pick-up from our DPAC center. We do not have the ability to support a sick deafplus client. The family members or caregivers must come within 30 minutes of contact for a pick-up. Our center does provide a bed and a quiet area in a separate room for our clients to rest.
When is the DAPC not the right program for my deafplus family member or client?
- Support needs exceeding the 1:2 or 1:3 ratio (staff: client)
- Medical needs requiring the presence of a licensed medical staff
- Serious forensic or mental health needs that presents danger to self and others, and do not respond to basic behavior management within our program