what we do
VCSP develops individual communication plans that take into consideration the functional challenges that may be a result of disability. The Communication Support Specialist (CSS) works to identify ways to support clients in their effort to participate effectively in their administrative or judicial process.
VCSP strives to provide equal access to the Vermont system of justice and State services for people whose disabilities affect comprehension, verbal and non-verbal expression, and effective participation and focus. VCSP has an experienced, trained, and dedicated team of Communication Support Specialists who are able to provide accommodations to qualified individuals.
VCSP Services at a Glance
Every person is considered individually when determining how best to offer communication support. By the time the VCSP appointed CSS meets with their client, there has usually been enough discussion during intake to have a sense of some of the tools and support strategies that may be helpful and/or necessary. Often information about effective accommodations is obtained from the individual’s treatment providers with the individual’s consent.
There are two steps before scheduling can occur:
- The VCSP needs to determine eligibility as well as the Court approving a motion for a CSS for services at a court hearing
- The VCSP needs to determine eligibility and the relevant State needs to receive notification that a person is eligible for VCSP services at an administrative hearing or meeting
Once those steps are met scheduling can begin. Services can only be scheduled by the court or a state administrative agency; some exceptions may apply.
VCSP services Format
We offer 3 different models of CSS support: Remote, In person and Hybrid. All meetings / hearings start with a 30 min pre-meeting and are followed by a 30 min post meeting. There can be exceptions to this rule as a CSS always takes an individual approach to the accommodation being provided.
Some of the most important communication planning happens when the Communication Support Specialist meets with the client for 30 minutes prior to the hearing or meeting. At this time there can be a collaborative discussion regarding a person’s needs and supports.
Meeting / Hearing
CSS attends the meeting with the client and intervenes when clarification or an accommodation is needed, along with other strategies as appropriate
The CSS will review what took place during the meeting / hearing and review the information that was shared. Reinforce the answers to any questions the client may have posed. The CSS will help the client organize follow up questions and the best person to answer them.