Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation - Volume 54, issue 1
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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: The impact of COVID-19 and other health pandemics disproportionately affects individuals with developmental disabilities (DD) across a multitude of life domains including health, work, and education. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this article is to review some of the factors contributing to the unique impact of pandemics on individuals with DD. Not only are individuals with DD at a heightened risk of contracting a pandemic illness but are also more likely to receive inequitable care and thus the potential to experience more fatal outcomes if contracted. Challenges in receiving equitable services in times of a global crisis are…observed in business and educational settings, as well. Many individuals with DD require individualized supports to meet learning and vocational needs. If the quality and continuity of those services are disrupted, individuals with DD risk termination from jobs or slowed progress in meeting educational goals. CONCLUSION: Strategies for addressing concerns related to the impact of a pandemic on different life domains for individuals with DD are discussed.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: While the health and economic impact of COVID-19 is becoming better known among the general population, little is known about the impact of the pandemic and recession on employees with intellectual and developmental disability (IDD). PURPOSE: The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent recession on individuals with IDD. METHODS: The present paper described the impact of COVID-19 pandemic and recession on the employment status, hours worked, and hourly wage of 156 individuals with IDD who work in competitive integrated employment for February to July 2020. These…findings are compared with a similar group receiving services from the same agency in February to July 2019. RESULTS: Findings indicate that these employees were not able to work from home and experienced furlough or lay off instead. Further, the number of hours worked monthly was also significantly affected. Wages were not affected by the pandemic and recession. Employees in some industries, notably health care and distribution and supplies, were less affected than employees in other industries like food service, retail, and entertainment. Finally, and surprisingly, black, indigenous, and other people of color worked more hours monthly than their white peers in both 2019 and 2020. CONCLUSION: Implications of these findings are discussed.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: As an unexpected environmental factor causing significant economic, financial, and health challenges for everyone, it is no wonder that COVID-19 presents significant employment-related worries for people with chronic health conditions and disabilities. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to explore whether higher levels of functional limitations are associated with worry about job loss for individuals with disabilities and chronic conditions. METHODS: Data for this study were collected to understand the effects of COVID-19 on individuals with disabilities and chronic conditions. A total of 219 employed participants were extracted from a total of 269 individuals…with disabilities and chronic conditions. The mean age among participants was 37.83 (SD = 10.97). RESULTS: Our hierarchical logistic regression analysis revealed that (a) demographic variables were not associated with worry about job loss in the first block, (b) perceived COVID-19 stress (AOR = 2.90, p < 0.001) was correlated with worry about job loss in the second block, and (c) functional limitations (AOR = 1.06, p < 0.001) were positively correlated with worry about job loss in the third block. Overall, the entire model containing all predictor variables in three blocks explained 23% (Nagelkerke R 2 ) of the variance in worry about job loss. CONCLUSIONS: This study contributes to the disability and vocational rehabilitation literature by examining the relationship between functional limitations and worry to lose jobs in people with disabilities.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Little is known about the experiences and concerns of Hispanic Americans with multiple sclerosis (MS), especially how their experiences and concerns compare to those of Caucasian Americans with MS. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to examine differences in satisfaction with the overall employment situation between two matched samples of adults with MS, namely, Hispanics and Caucasians. METHODS: Participants in this study responded to a national survey of the employment and community living concerns of people with MS. A propensity score matching (PSM) procedure was used to match participants based on demographic and MS-related…variables. RESULTS: A two-sample Hotelling T 2 test revealed no statistically significant between-group differences on satisfaction regarding fair treatment in the workplace but between-group differences were observed on satisfaction regarding legal rights and personal-environmental resources related to work. CONCLUSIONS: Implications for future research and clinical practice in rehabilitation counseling in the COVID-19 era are discussed.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Obtaining and retaining employment for persons with spinal cord injury (SCI) is frequently a greater challenge than it is for the non-SCI population. It is particularly difficult during COVID-19 because all the barriers to employment are compounded for people with SCI as they have to take extra precaution to protect their health and wellbeing. OBJECTIVE: The objective of the study was to understand how isolation related to COVID-19 has had an effect on the employment experiences for persons living with SCI. METHODS: Three virtual focus groups were conducted with Kentuckians who had SCI.…RESULTS: The major themes were: the impact of disruption in routine on physical and mental health, importance of having the right accommodations, working from home as an accommodation, and the uncertainty of work. CONCLUSIONS: Accommodations are a critical component for people with SCI to be retained in the workforce. Employers should be proactive in offering various inclusive and accessible accommodations to employees so that people do not have to bear the additional burden of asking for accommodations. Rehabilitation professionals would serve the SCI population well by finding ways to help clients better advocate for themselves, provide adaptive home therapeutic equipment, and help identify diverse employment skill sets.
Abstract: OBJECTIVE: This article introduces the Illinois Work Adjustment Scale (IWAS) and sets out to confirm the internal validity of the IWAS as well as determine if there are meaningful dimensions among the items of the IWAS that can be further defined as instrument subscales. METHODS: In order to meet these objectives, a survey of 738 individuals, all of whom self-reported as having disabilities, was conducted online. RESULTS: As a result of this survey and exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses, the IWAS was reduced from a 26-question scale to an 18-question scale consisting of two meaningful subscales,…Work Context and Work Capacity . Significant and meaningful correlations between the two subscales indicate that Work Context and Work Capacity are related to the broader concept of work adjustment and assess unique aspects of work. CONCLUSION: The IWAS has the potential to be applied to facilitate positive career development and vocational rehabilitation outcomes for people with disabilities and chronic health conditions. This is of greater importance now as the COVID-19 crisis has significantly impacted the economy and workforce, leaving those with the greatest barriers to employment such as individuals with disabilities and chronic health conditions further marginalized and disconnected from work.
Keywords: COVID-19, Illinois, work capacity, work context, employment, pandemic
Abstract: BACKGROUND: It is essential to ensure that youth with specific learning disabilities (SLD) receive an appropriate type and amount of vocational rehabilitation (VR) services to facilitate their entrance to employment and career development. METHODS: In this study, the chi-squared automatic interaction detector (CHAID) analysis and multivariate logistic regression analysis were used to investigate the relationship among demographic variables, VR services, and employment outcomes for transition-age youth with SLD. RESULTS: Results indicated that age, gender, race, educational level, and cash benefits from the Social Security Administration were significant predictors of employment outcomes for transition-age youth with SLD.…After controlling for the effects of demographic variables, job and training related services had significant relationships with employment outcomes. Most notably, job placement, occupational/vocational training, and on-the-job support services had the strongest relationships with competitive employment outcomes. CONCLUSION: These findings support the effectiveness of job-related services and supported employment for transition-age youth with SLD. Implications for future research and practice in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic are discussed.
Keywords: Rehabilitation, specific learning disability, transition-age youth, competitive employment
Abstract: BACKGROUND: The experience of disability and of how work is conducted in the American economy is undergoing new shifts in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This unique space in time provides an opportunity to re-examine the importance of universal design (UD) as a way to respond to a workforce that is growing more diverse and living longer with disabilities. UD is a set of strategies that creates places and resources that are accessible to all and considers the needs and wants of people from the outset. Through the use of UD, work environments can be more accessible and useable…to all employees. OBJECTIVE: This article describes the changes in the experience of disability within the context of COVID-19 and defines UD and UD for learning principles. We then consider how UD reduces stigma and reduces the need for individual accommodations while promoting inclusivity and improving productivity in the workplace. CONCLUSION: We offer strategies for embedding UD into vocational rehabilitation from pre-professional training to practice, all with a new sense of urgency and opportunity that is present as a result of COVID-19.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: The Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has been associated with unprecedented social and economic impacts in the United States, including significant cuts to the labor force, beginning in the spring of 2020. OBJECTIVE: In this study we examined the employment effects of the pandemic on Americans with multiple sclerosis (MS), a population that has historically experienced low rates of employment relative to the general population. METHODS: Based on a survey of a convenience sample of 69 members of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, we examined employment, health, and economic experiences between May and August, 2020.…RESULTS: The results suggest potentially significant job loss. Specifically, in the present sample approximately 20% of participants who were previously employed reported losing employment as a result of the pandemic, and approximately 40% reported other work changes. At elevated risk for job loss were those with lower levels of education, African American workers, and workers reporting Hispanic, Latinx, or Spanish origin. Almost two-thirds of the participants reported that the pandemic had affected their financial status and over half (53.6%) reported that the pandemic had affected their ability to access their MS healthcare. CONCLUSION: We discuss the implications and potentially lasting effects of the current, complex employment situation faced by Americans living with MS, and the broader considerations for vocational rehabilitation professionals.