Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation - Volume 48, issue 2
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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: Customized employment has generated support at the national, state, and individual participant levels to expand employment for people with significant disabilities. The next step is movement from practitioner-based descriptions to evidenced-based practices that can be consistently replicated. OBJECTIVE: The objective of this qualitative research study was to begin the development of a research-based description that agencies can use to replicate customized employment when supporting individuals with significant disabilities. METHODS: Twenty-eight professionals representing national experts and implementers of customized employment participated in five phone-administered focus groups. The calls were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed to identify themes…associated with customized employment implementation. RESULTS: Twelve key components or practices emerged as comprising customized employment. CONCLUSION: This research provides insight into the practices that are associated with customized employment that facilitate integrated employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities. Additional research is needed including random control trial studies to further the development of a replicable set of evidence-based practices.
Keywords: Customized employment, discovery, disability, qualitative research, focus groups
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Since 2002 approximately 1,700 US military service members have experienced trauma related amputations from injuries incurred in Afhanistan and Iraq (Fisher, 2015). OBJECTIVE: This study explores the variables of resilience, individual characteristics, and employment status of a sample of these Veterans who served in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and sustained an amputation. METHODS: Veterans identified through the VA Corporate Data Warehouse (N = 165) completed a survey on their experiences following amputation. RESULTS: Results indicate that several variables were significantly related to resilience, to include employment status, pain status, and…prosthetic use. CONCLUSION: Recommendations for future research and practice are provided.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Employment is of great importance to adult life and the onset of a disabling condition presents significant challenges to maintaining employment or obtaining new employment. Diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) typically occurs during the most active years of employment. OBJECTIVE: To identify employment status, earnings, and job satisfaction of participants with MS and to compare these findings with that from a study of the National MS Society (NMSS). METHODS: Data were collected via mailed and web self-report assessment. RESULTS: We found an overall employment rate of 44.6%. This was higher than the rate…observed in the NMSS study (39.3%). Among those who were employed, the majority of participants were in the two lowest earning categories (less than $25,000 = 23.1%; $25,000–49,999 = 24.3%). Education was highly related to employment. For race/ethnicity, the highest employment rate was observed for non-Hispanic white participants (48.19%), followed by Hispanic (44.68%) and non-Hispanic blacks (35.9%). CONCLUSIONS: MS is related to diminishing employment outcomes that may affect participation and quality of life.
Abstract: This article re-affirms the call for attention to the development of self-determination skills and opportunities for people with disabilities. Recent data on rates of participation in postsecondary education and employment are reviewed, highlighting the ongoing disparities in post-school outcomes for people with disabilities. Next, research on the relationship between self-determination and post-school outcomes is reviewed as is research on effective strategies to promote self-determination. Implications for the field are highlighted.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Multiple sclerosis (MS) symptoms often make it difficult for individuals with MS to stay at work or return to work. It is important to understand the relationship between symptom clusters and employment. Person-environment (P-E) contextual factors such as core self-evaluations (CSE) and social support have been found to be effective mediators for the relationship between disability and participation in rehabilitation research and may be able to reduce the adverse impact of MS symptom cluster on employment outcome of people with MS. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the mediation effect of CSE and social support on the relationship between symptom…cluster and employment in MS. METHOD: Quantitative descriptive research design using two simple mediation analyses. 154 persons with multiple sclerosis participated in this study. RESULTS: Results show that symptom cluster, CSE, and social support were significantly related to employment. Both CSE and social support were significant mediators of the relationship between symptom cluster and employment, with CSE a stronger mediator than social support. CONCLUSIONS: Managing MS symptoms and increasing CSE and social support will reduce the adverse impact of MS symptom cluster on employment outcome. Therefore, CSE and social support can be viewed as protective factors for maintaining employment in MS. These results provide support for the use of positive psychology interventions by vocational rehabilitation counselors working with individuals with multiple sclerosis.
Keywords: Multiple sclerosis, symptom cluster, core self-evaluations, social
support, and employment
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Extant research has reported on the factors associated with seeking and maintaining employment for individuals with different types of physical disabilities, such as cerebral palsy (CP), multiple sclerosis (MS), and spinal cord injuries (SCI). Some of these factors are barriers and others are facilitators. However, research has not determined whether the inhibiting and facilitating employment experiences of people with physical disabilities are similar across type of physical disability. OBJECTIVE: The goal of this study was to compare the employment experiences of people with physical disabilities with three different disabilities including CP, MS, and SCI to determine whether…these employment experiences are similar. METHODS: Homogenous focus groups were conducted with individuals with CP, MS, and SCI concerning their employment experiences. These 18 focus groups were conducted telephonically, audio recorded, and lasted approximately 60 minutes each. Data from each disability type was analyzed separately and across disability type. RESULTS: Two themes were common among participants in the three disability types: 1) Health and 2) Barriers to Overcome. However, there were differences among the disability types within these themes. Some of these differences were unique to MS. CONCLUSIONS: This study provides a perspective on working with CP, MS, or SCI informed directly by individuals living with these disabilities, whether they were employed or unemployed, and gives a voice to the employment experiences of the individuals. The findings present information on the similarities and differences that individuals with various physical disabilities face when working.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Negative employer attitudes have been identified as a major barrier to employment for people who are blind or visually impaired, yet we know little about what influences employer attitudes toward this population. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of the study was to replicate an earlier study of predictors of employer attitudes towards people who are blind or visually impaired as employees, utilizing a larger sample of employers and including additional predictor and control variables. METHODS: An online survey was conducted with a national sample of hiring managers, resulting in a usable sample of 379. Multiple regression was…utilized to identify predictors of employer attitudes. RESULTS: Five variables significantly predicted employer attitudes: having hired someone in the past, knowledge about how work tasks can be accomplished, belief in knowledge, having a relationship with vocational rehabilitation (VR), and being female. Although communication with VR had a strong association with employer attitudes, having hired functioned as a mediator of the relationship between it and employer attitudes, indicating that communication with VR may influence employers’ hiring decisions. CONCLUSION: VR professionals should interact with employers as much as possible to encourage the hiring of people who are blind or visually impaired. Going beyond initial contacts to developing relationships is important.
Keywords: Employer attitudes, blindness, visual impairment, vocational rehabilitation, business development
Abstract: BACKGROUND: The years leading up to age 18 are important for youth recipients of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) considering making human capital investments to prepare for the transition to adulthood. OBJECTIVE: This paper documents the employment and benefit outcomes of former child SSI recipients and estimates the association between vocational rehabilitation, vocational training, special education, and adult outcomes. METHODS: Multivariate analyses using linked survey and administrative data estimate the association between service receipt before age 18 and outcomes 13 years later, at ages 27 to 30, controlling for other factors. RESULTS: Vocational rehabilitation is…associated with a 9 percentage point increase in the likelihood of earnings above the annualized substantial gainful activity level and a 13 percentage point decrease in the likelihood of SSI or disability insurance (DI) receipt between ages 27 to 30. In contrast, vocational training is associated with a 6 percentage point increase in the likelihood of SSI or DI receipt, while special education is not statistically significantly associated with any of the adult outcomes analyzed. CONCLUSIONS: Results suggest vocational rehabilitation improves long-term employment and economic independence, but confounding factors may contribute to the observed relationships.
Keywords: Social security disability benefits, vocational rehabilitation, transition
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Youth with disabilities desire competitive employment, but most are placed in sheltered workshops. Illinois launched a pilot project to promote competitive employment for youth with disabilities, using Individual Placement and Support (IPS), an evidence-based vocational model for people with serious mental illness. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the potential of IPS for youth with developmental and/or psychiatric disabilities. METHODS: We assessed fidelity to the IPS model, competitive employment outcomes, and implementation barriers over one year in 10 agencies in Illinois implementing new IPS programs for youth with developmental and/or psychiatric disabilities. Assessments included fidelity reviews, employment outcomes,…and semi-structured interviews. Project outcomes were compared against national benchmarks for fidelity and employment outcomes. RESULTS: All 10 programs successfully implemented IPS with four achieving a fidelity score above 100, the benchmark for good fidelity. Over a 12-month follow-up period, most programs increased quarterly employment rates, reaching a mean employment rate of 36% (SD = 14%) by the fourth quarter, approaching the national benchmark for good employment outcome. A lack of collaboration between systems, competing expectations, and stigma were the main implementation barriers. CONCLUSION: The overall good employment rate and fidelity scores suggest that IPS is a promising approach for youth with disabilities.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Many people who are blind or visually impaired face difficulties with transportation due to their inability to drive. Accordingly, transportation is widely considered a barrier to employment for people who are blind or visually impaired, and transportation self-efficacy is a factor that may minimize the impact of this barrier. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to examine transportation self-efficacy and its association with employment among working-age adults with visual impairments who were non-drivers. METHOD: This study included data from 327 people who participated in a national transportation survey of individuals with visual impairments. A…multiple logistic regression analysis was conducted to predict full-time employment based on transportation self-efficacy and other factors. RESULTS: Factors predicting full-time employment included census region, severity of vision loss, and years of education. Interaction effects indicated that odds of employment generally increased as transportation self-efficacy increased; however, the effect of self-efficacy was dependent upon age and age at onset of visual impairment. CONCLUSIONS: Transportation self-efficacy was an important predictor of employment, particularly for younger people and for those who experienced significant vision loss more recently. Vocational rehabilitation counselors and other service providers can provide support to consumers to increase their transportation self-efficacy.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Many people with disabilities gain and retain paid employment through vocational rehabilitation (VR) services. Some empirical research has indicated that self-employment can be a viable employment option for people with disabilities. OBJECTIVE: We examined factors of successful self-employment of people with disabilities who had received vocational rehabilitation (VR) services across a recent five-year span. METHODS: We analyzed extant federal VR data from 2008 to 2012 from the Rehabilitation Services Administration using a special type of Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) technique known as the Multiple Indicators Multiple Causes (MIMIC) modeling to conduct validation and invariance testing.…RESULTS: The national model produced reasonable fit, but there was some regional misfit in the invariance models. These results were similar to those from another similar study that used MIMIC modeling on earlier federal VR data from the RSA. CONCLUSIONS: The generalizability of the MIMIC models in this study is limited; no causal inferences were or should be drawn. Using these results, further research should examine modification indices and test alternative MIMIC models of VR self-employment. Implications of this study for VR and policymakers and recommendations include changes to service provision for clients and greater flexibility in supporting self-employment based on individualization.
Keywords: Self-employment, people with disabilities, vocational rehabilitation, structural equation modeling, multiple indicators multiple causes model, validation and invariance testing
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Paraprofessionals play an integral role in educating students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Students with ASD have unique learning characteristics which require specialized knowledge and skills in order to support them effectively in schools. However, paraprofessionals often do not receive the training needed to support this student population. OBJECTIVE: Delivering effective professional development to paraprofessionals is essential to the success of these students. METHODS: A model for delivering online professional development to paraprofessionals on a statewide level was implemented and evaluated. RESULTS: The evaluation concentrated on whether the online course changed the perceived…knowledge and implementation of evidence-based practices and the attitudes of paraprofessionals toward students with ASD. CONCLUSION: Additionally, the existence of a relationship between occupational characteristics and participants’ reported knowledge was explored.
Keywords: Autism/PDD, paraprofessionals, staff training, special education