Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation - Volume 50, 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: Locally-based and collaborative interagency transition teams have long been considered to be a “best practice” in the delivery of high school-to-adult life transition services for young adults with disabilities. Nevertheless, very little research exists assessing the specific team development and collaboration activities that these teams undertake in their efforts to improve outcomes for youth residing in their communities. As a result, although we believe local interagency teams are an effective vehicle for planning and delivering transition services, we know very little about the specific characteristics and activities of these teams. This is problematic for technical assistance (TA) providers, as…well as for local team leaders, as we have limited guidance to offer teams in their initiation and membership struggles, goal setting and attainment activities, action planning models, or processes for reaching consensus. We have even less guidance to offer teams for their specific collaborative and interagency activities such as evaluating the viability of interagency agreements, the impact of joint personnel and service funding, or guidelines for making policy and procedural revisions. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this report is to explore these issues with local interagency teams in South Carolina by summarizing self-reported data on team development and collaboration interagency activities from 22 local interagency teams followed by the Transition Alliance of South Carolina (TASC) between September 2015 and September 2016. This report will also suggest TA activities for providers to focus upon as well as team leadership activities for local team leaders to use to initiate and lead teams in their local communities.
Keywords: Interagency collaboration, transition teams, team development
Abstract: BACKGROUND: There is a paucity of research regarding employment services for adults with autism. Interventions typically focus on adapting behaviors of the person rather than customized approaches and environmental adaptations that may improve employment matching and ongoing, competitive employment rates. OBJECTIVE: The ACCESS intervention protocolizes the customized employment (CE) process and has the potential to optimize employment outcomes in adults with autism. Lessons learned during the implementation of the Phase I open trial are presented. METHODS: The study utilizes a randomized pre-test post-test experimental control group design. Phase I - open trial (N = 10) of the…study tested feasibility and acceptability of the ACCESS intervention. Phase II - randomized controlled trial (N = 30) will test preliminary efficacy of an amended intervention protocol. RESULTS: Findings from the open trial suggest the need for a revised recruitment strategy and an extended timeframe for the intervention. Thorough screening of practitioners and assessing participants’ work motivation may reduce attrition. CONCLUSION: An evidence-based, user-friendly process that employs well-trained practitioners is critical to successful implementation of CE services with fidelity and consistency. A collaborative approach to training, implementation, documentation, evaluation, and pre and post-employment supports is essential to promote an effective and sustainable intervention.
Keywords: Autism, customized employment, social capital, self-determination
Abstract: BACKGROUND: The continued advancement of Employment First requires, in part, a strong understanding about our existing policies and practices and how effective systems are as they undergo changes. Data about the employment of people with disabilities and about employment support systems are a critical component to this advancement. OBJECTIVE: This paper presents an overview of the current national context as it relates to the employment of people with disabilities. CONCLUSION: Next a discussion about the importance of employment data and key data-centric opportunities for the field are presented. A summary of important data innovations occurring nationally…are offered to highlight opportunities that may exist in other states. Finally, the authors present a brief discussion on how to advance the field’s use of these critical data.
Keywords: Employment First, employment, disability, data
Abstract: BACKGROUND: The transition of sheltered workshops or Australian Disability Enterprises (ADE) as they are known in Australia, to open employment settings unlike the USA lacks the legislative driver to encourage providers to move towards the promotion of integrated employment in the community. As a result, we have witnessed a move to rebadge ADE’s as social enterprises in order to change public perceptions, without changes in wage outcomes or pathways to real work in the community. ADE’s in Australia present as something of a challenge for government in trying to balance the competing provider agenda, against its obligations to people with…a disability underpinned by the Disability Services Act (1986), the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with a Disability and the establishment of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). OBJECTIVE: This paper will examine the policy drivers for change and findings from work undertaken by the Centre for Disability Employment Research and Practice (CDERP) to promote provider transformation to integrated employment settings and the issues experienced in provider transformation within these policy settings. CONCLUSION: Education, ongoing support for employment staff and families, along with community partnerships are seen as ingredients for creating provider transformation and meaningful employment outcomes.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Employment specialists have the power to facilitate and change the course of a person’s life. Challenged with juggling sizeable caseloads, changing schedules, administrative tasks, and implementing a diverse set of skills and competencies, it can be difficult for the professional to provide the best supports for each supported employee. In an attempt to bridge the gap between research and practice, this article presents accessible, easily understood concepts to consider when facilitating positive outcomes for supported employees. OBJECTIVE: Identify relatable, teachable, and usable concepts that guide employment specialist actions for optimal outcomes. METHODS: Strategies, interventions, and…competencies were compiled for employment specialists to consider when supporting a job seeker to secure employment. Guidelines were identified through research and experience in the field. RESULTS: Best practices are presented in four ‘rules’ to guide employment specialists and managers in evaluating and monitoring their actions while working with supported employees. CONCLUSIONS: Employment specialists may use these relatable ‘rules’ to evaluate their actions and incorporate best practices that support optimal outcomes.
Abstract: OBJECTIVE: This paper uses follow-up case studies of two youths who completed the P ost-Secondary A pprenticeship for Y outh with disabilities (PAY Check) program to chronicle outcomes and lessons learned. CONCLUSION: The article concludes with recommendations for improving transition programs designed to promote full participation of youth with disabilities in the community as adults.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Assisting individuals with disabilities as they navigate social expectations at the workplace is always a challenge, but when situations of a sexual nature arise, the challenge becomes more complex. By reviewing the literature regarding sexuality relative to individuals with disabilities and examining common interventions for social/emotional challenges in the workplace, this article explores what employment specialists can do to support individuals with disabilities when these issues intersect on the job. OBJECTIVE: This article outlines the social and educational context for why social/sexual issues present themselves in the workplace, why they pose a unique challenge to individuals with…I/DD, and strategies employment specialists can utilize to support the healthy sexuality of the individuals they serve while assisting them in maintaining their employment.
Keywords: Sexuality, social/sexual, supported employment, intellectual disabilities, developmental disabilities, sexual education, employment specialist, sexual harassment, disabilities
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Effective employer engagement strategies are critical to the provision of high quality employment supports for individuals with disabilities. There is a gap in both relevant research and knowledge surrounding these strategies. This article describes the knowledge translation (KT) activities of the Diversity Partners Project, which are designed to promote and contextualize a set of promising employer engagement practices to improve outcomes for job seekers with disabilities. OBJECTIVE: KT is an emerging area of study in the field of disability and employment. This article explores the role of capacity building in a knowledge translation intervention for employment service…providers. CONCLUSIONS: Ongoing efforts on the Diversity Partners Project have involved KT principles as an integral part of the process. The target audience of the intervention has been actively engaged in the process from development to implementation to evaluation. Overall, frontline staff have been receptive and even eager for the on-demand, business-focused tools made available to them on the website, though broad adoption has been hindered by a number of factors.
Keywords: Disability, employer partnerships, knowledge translation, capacity building, workforce development
Abstract: BACKGROUND: The authors continue the dialogue, initiated in 2016, discussing how disability service professionals and society at large can unintentionally create “weird” situations for people with disabilities by creating “special”— that is, segregated— activities and events for people with disabilities, rather than working to include individuals with disabilities in the activities and events that already happen in communities. The authors further explore the continuing trend of calling out and excessively celebrating people’s actions and accomplishments based solely on the fact that they experience a disability. This session shares examples of people with disabilities in the news and social media, encouraging…discussion about the difference between drawing attention to events that are newsworthy because of their historical context versus those that merely reinforce disability stereotypes. OBJECTIVE: It is critical to continue challenging disability stereotypes and questioning the value of segregated, disability-specific activities that serve to exclude people with disabilities from the community at large, even as they celebrate these “special” opportunities. CONCLUSION: In this session, a panel of individuals who experience disability shares personal experiences with this kind of “weirdness” and suggest ways to #stopmakingitweird. The authors provide ideas and discussion to encourage disability professionals, family members of people with disabilities, and people from the community at large to consider their own assumptions and stereotypes while challenging those whom they know and interact with to do the same.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Recent national and state-level policy changes have created an imperative for providers to change their organizational structures and service delivery models from providing primarily sheltered work to integrated employment. As a result, many providers have been challenged with how to transform their services in order to make this shift. Findings from a Delphi panel of experts in the field of organizational transformation revealed ten elements necessary for successful change away from segregated work options (Lyons, Timmons, Hall & Leblois, 2018 ). OBJECTIVE: The current manuscript extends the Delphi results through the implementation of four case studies conducted…with providers serving primarily individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) that successfully transformed away from sheltered employment in the last ten years. CONCLUSION: Findings showed a plethora of implementation strategies. This manuscript shares provider transformation approaches according to each of the ten Delphi panel elements. Considerations are offered for others seeking to evolve towards integrated employment supports for individuals with IDD.