Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation - Volume 44, issue 3
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Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation will provide a forum for discussion and dissemination of information about the major areas that constitute vocational rehabilitation.
Periodically, there will be topics that are directed either to specific themes such as long-term care or different disability groups such as those with psychiatric impairment. Often a guest editor who is an expert in the given area will provide leadership on a specific topic issue. However, all articles received directly or submitted for a special issue are welcome for peer review. The emphasis will be on publishing rehabilitation articles that have immediate application for helping rehabilitation counselors, psychologists and other professionals in providing direct services to people with disabilities.
Original research articles, review articles, program descriptions, and case studies will be considered for publication. Ideas for special topical issues are welcomed as well.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Poverty is deep-rooted issue that has challenged society throughout history. It is a complex and multilayered problem that requires a reflexive look at inequity across social, cultural, economic, and political spectrums. Poverty does not affect individuals or groups equally. Individuals with disabilities experience poverty at disproportionally higher rates compared to individuals without disabilities. Employment can be an avenue out of poverty for many individuals, yet many individuals with disabilities are not currently employed. OBJECTIVE: This paper seeks to highlight this problem by continuing a dialogue that draws attention to the significant gaps in poverty rates for…individuals with disabilities. CONCLUSION: Employment is an essential variable to this conversation as the ability to earn a living wage is a central tenant of economic wellbeing and self-sufficiency. It also suggests, we as professionals, use reflexive practices to critically examine personal and professional biases to ensure we are facilitating individuals with disabilities in their pursuit of a working life.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: We groaned, too, when we learned about the Common Core and considered how it could affect thoughtful, appropriate and evidence-based transition services if not carefully implemented. OBJECTIVE: Without watering down either, we have developed a model demonstration project that meets the needs of late adolescents/young adults with autism, autistic-like presentations, mental health/behavioral challenges, and other developmental disabilities by successfully preventing them from falling off “The Cliff” between IDEA-mandated and eligibility-based, underfunded adult services when they exit out of IEP-land. How? By helping them to achieve employment prior to exiting IDEA-funded services. CONCLUSION: This paper…discusses the challenges presented by the Common Core and describes what the components of our model are in response to these standards.
Keywords: Transition, employment, IDEA, outcomes, challenges, Common Core
Abstract: BACKGROUND: When it comes to discovery – learning all we can about a career seeker’s passions, aspirations, talents, and support needs – approaches and instruments abound. While there are many excellent resources available to the field, there is an ongoing challenge: often multiple entities (schools, service providers, and vocational rehabilitation agencies) are supporting the same person and using tools that may be duplicating their efforts to gather useful information, or worse, providing conflicting information. OBJECTIVE: In an era where collaboration and communication across agencies are vital, this article introduces an instrument for consideration. The instrument described is…referred to as the Life and Career Assessment Matrix (LCAM), which is an expanded version of the positive personal profile. CONCLUSION: This tool provides a common framework that can be used by self-advocates, their personal supporters, educators, vocational rehabilitation counselors and adult service providers alike to help all partners discuss and develop plans and activities leading to excellent work experiences, paid employment, and community inclusion.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: The United States faces a challenge to build on the successes of our predecessors and help every individual thrive in the community. It is a challenge that is fraught with complexities, but programs are being created to address this issue. OBJECTIVE: This article discusses the development of a software application, referred to as the Community Connection Manager, for professionals to help match people to community contacts as to develop skills in community integration and employment. CONCLUSION: The Community Connections Manager was created as part of an overall agency redesign to help us prepare to…meet the challenges ahead. As we move away from conventional, brick and mortar methods of service provision, we think these community contacts will be the tools we will use to develop and coordinate opportunities for the people we serve. The goal is to help each individual take their chosen place in a community where they are valued for who they are and the contributions they make.
Keywords: Community, inclusion, person-centered, individuals with disabilities
Abstract: BACKGROUND: More than 50 years after the Civil Rights Bill banned racial segregation in the workplace, people with disabilities continue to face a culture that largely accepts their segregation and discrimination as a matter of course. Many organizations are challenged by the status quo today: Isn’t providing employment services to people with disabilities the way we always have good enough? The answer: Absolutely not! Jim Collins (2001) proposes that good is the enemy of great. Fortunately, moving from good to great is not a function of circumstance; it doesn’t take a revolutionary process. “Greatness, it turns out, is largely…a matter of conscious choice” (Collins, 2001, p. 11). Making a commitment to community-based services and Employment First practices is also a matter of choice and discipline. OBJECTIVE: This article will explore the principles of Good to Great and apply them to the transition from traditional day services to community-based employment services. CONCLUSION: Making a cultural change from good to great requires a lot of effort, but everyone should have the opportunity to have a great, meaningful life, and meaningful work.
Keywords: Civil rights, disability, sheltered workshop, supported employment, Employment First, community-based employment, transition, Good to Great
Abstract: BACKGROUND: A group of individuals continued exploration of the concepts of community engagement, inclusion, supported employment and poverty. OBJECTIVE: The original conversation took place at the APSE 2014 National Conference. This current discussion was an open interactive dialogue in a network café style. CONCLUSION: Society continues to transform. Through an inclusive discussion of professionals working with the ID population, a great deal of information has been yielded about where this culture is with regards to self-sufficiency.
Keywords: Community engagement, culture, gainful employment, inclusion, individuals with intellectual disability (ID), normalization, poverty, Social Role Valorization (SVR), supported employment, Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act
Abstract: BACKGROUND: There has been a great migration of students with intellectual disability (ID) into the college world. The Higher Education Opportunities Act of 2008 (HEOA) has opened the door to postsecondary education to a previously untapped market of students. As a result, programs for students with intellectual disability have been developed around the country to support this historic systems change (Lee, 2009). Along with improved job prospects as one important measure of success, college participation also brings opportunity for personal and social development. OBJECTIVE: With seven years passing since the HEOA, it is prudent to assess outcomes…for those students who are choosing to continue their education beyond high school. The National Core Indicators provide a unique opportunity to assess impact of higher education across life domains, historically used to determine developmental disability service system quality of life outcomes. Here, we discuss higher education and outcomes around employment, health, relationships and medications. METHODS: Students who had completed at least two semesters of college in Kentucky were surveyed about life outcomes using the National Core Indicators (NCI) Adult Consumer Survey (ACS). RESULTS: Findings on health, medications, employment, and relationships are reported. CONCLUSION: Participation in higher education can positively impact life outcomes across a variety of domains. This research represents a first step in utilizing a nationally recognized instrument that takes a holistic view of outcomes for adults with IDD to assess impact of participation in higher education. While the results are promising, further studies using larger samples are needed.
Keywords: Intellectual disability, higher education, national core indicators
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Some adults with intellectual disabilities (ID) who are competitively employed earn more than minimum wage, receive health benefits from their employers, and have work schedules that accommodate their financial and personal needs. However, most competitively employed adults with ID lack such benefits that are commonly associated with high-quality competitive employment. OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to look within the population of adults with ID who are competitively employed in order to understand factors related to high-quality competitive employment. METHODS: Respondents included a national sample of 153 parents/guardians of adult children (21 years…of age or older) with intellectual disabilities who were competitively employed. These parents/guardians were drawn from a nationally representative sample of 1,055 households which included an adult with an intellectual disability. RESULTS: The results indicated that while high-quality competitive employment is attainable for adults with ID, most competitively employed adults with ID lack benefits including health insurance and salaries that are above minimum wage. Adaptive behavior was related to greater job quality. Also, beyond the influence of adaptive behavior, being at the same job for three or more years significantly predicted higher wages, more work hours, and greater likelihood of receiving health benefits. CONCLUSIONS: Policies and programs should look beyond emphasizing competitive employment as the ultimate goal for individuals with intellectual disabilities, and should seek to promote access to high-quality competitive employment. Improving employment stability may contribute to this goal.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Family involvement has been identified as an evidence-based transition practice in both special education and vocational rehabilitation (VR); however, from a VR perspective, less is known about how to engage parents in their children’s transition to adult roles and responsibilities. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of the study was to examine parents of children with disabilities’ perceived issues in transition and obtain their input for improvement. METHODS: A Consensual Qualitative Research (CQR) design was used to analyze multiple case studies collected from three focus groups of parents of students with disabilities in one southeastern state. Data…analysis explored parental experiences with transition services to help identify family concerns. RESULTS: The data yielded six domains of parental concerns: (a) transition preparation, (b) integration, (c) adult services, (d) parent support, (e) advocacy, and (f) professionals’ roles. CONCLUSIONS: Results from this study provides vocational rehabilitation (VR) counselors and other helping professionals, who work with families and secondary students with disabilities in transition, information related to how to engage parents as collaborator in transition in order to improve the post-school outcomes of students with disabilities. Recommendations for VR counseling practitioners who work with parents and students with disabilities are included.
Keywords: Parents, families, transition, vocational rehabilitation, students with disabilities
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Individuals with substance use disorders (SUDs) have low employment rates and job interviewing is a critical barrier to employment for them. Virtual reality training is efficacious at improving interview skills and vocational outcomes for several clinical populations. OBJECTIVE: This study evaluated the acceptability and efficacy of virtual reality job interview training (VR-JIT) at improving interview skills and vocational outcomes among individuals with SUDs via a small randomized controlled trial (n = 14 VR-JIT trainees, n = 11 treatment-as-usual (TAU) controls). METHODS: Trainees completed up to 10 hours of virtual interviews, while controls received services as usual.…Primary outcome measures included two pre-test and two post-test video-recorded role-play interviews and vocational outcomes at six-month follow-up. RESULTS: Trainees reported that the intervention was easy-to-use and helped prepared them for future interviews. While co-varying for pre-test role-play performance, trainees had higher post-test role-play scores than controls at the trend level (p < 0.10). At 6-month follow-up, trainees were more likely than controls to attain a competitive position (78.6% vs. 44.4%, p < 0.05, respectively). Trainees had greater odds of attaining a competitive position by 6 month follow-up compared to controls (OR: 5.67, p < 0.05). VR-JIT participation was associated with fewer weeks searching for a position (r = –0.36, p < 0.05). CONCLUSION: There is preliminary evidence that VR-JIT is acceptable to trainees with SUDs. Moreover, VR-JIT led to better vocational outcomes with trainees having greater odds of attaining a competitive position by 6-month follow-up. Future studies could evaluate the effectiveness of VR-JIT within community-based services.