Time Sensitive if you want to comment on the new WIOA legislation

As of today, August 22, 2014:

One Week Left to Comment on the WIOA at the OSERS BLOG site

Please submit comments through this Friday, August 29, 2014. 

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) and the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) invite you to submit comments and recommendations to help us implement the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), signed by President Obama on July 22. This new law seeks to maximize opportunities for youth and adults, with and without disabilities, to succeed in postsecondary education and in high-skill, high-wage, high-demand jobs in the 21st century economy. Specifically, we seek your comments to assist us as we begin the process of implementing the amendments to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that were made by Title IV of WIOA and of the new version of the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA), in Title II of WIOA.

We invite you to comment at the OSERS Blog site.

Vocational Rehabilitation Outcomes for individuals with brain injury – per the RSA

A number of people who attended my presentations in Salem last week (annual Oregon Voc Rehab In-service Conference) asked me to post the “Vocational Rehabilitation Outcomes” tables used in my PowerPoint. The Tables and Summaries were provided by Frank A. Smith, who can be contacted at Frank.Smith@UMB.edu.

Voc Rehab Outcomes for consumers with TBI per the RSA.

  • Table 1: Total VR exiters in 1012
  • Table 2: Percentage of individuals with TBI that successfully returned to the workplace for at least 90 days after placement
  • Table 3: What percentage of the time do people work (hours per week)
  • Tables 4 & 5: Average length of time a case is open (months or range of months)
  • Tables 6 & 7: Average cost and or range of costs to the VR agency

Summary of Table #1:

Individuals with TBI were approximately 2% of all people who exited state VR programs in 2012. Most individuals with TBI who exited (95%) were marked has having a significant disability. Comparatively, 92% of other cognitively impaired individuals and 89% of all others with no TBI or cognitive impairment had a significant disability.

Summary of Table #2:

When an individual exits their VR program, a VR counselor assigns a “closure status” to each individual. The ideal outcome is that a person exits with an employment outcome. As Table 2 shows, about 35% of all individuals who exited VR in 2012 exited with an employment outcome. Looking at the four disability groups in Table 2 we see that when compared to the other groups, individuals with TBI have a lower rate of exiting into employment than individuals from other disability groups. This is true for people with TBI who do or do not have a significant disability.

Summary of Table #3:

Looking at the four disability groups in Table 3, we see individuals with TBI who exit their VR program with a job work fewer hours per week on average than individuals from other disability groups. For all disability groups in Table 3, individuals with a significant disability work fewer hours per week on average than those without a significant disability.

Summary of Table #4:

The number of days an individual is in the VR system, from the day they apply until the day they exit, can be an indicator of how well the VR system is equipped to serve individuals and can also be an indicator of how challenging it is for certain groups to complete a VR program. Looking at the columns for mean in Table 4, we see that individuals with TBI are typically in the VR system for longer than individuals from other disability groups. Not surprisingly, having a significant disability increases the amount of time and individual is in the VR system.

Summary of Table #5:

Not everyone is Table 4 is someone who exited with a job. When looking at the amount of time an individual is in the VR system, it is interesting to look at the subgroup of individuals who exited with a job. This is the group shown in Table 5. Looking at the columns for mean in Table 5, we see that individuals with TBI who exit with a job are typically in the VR system for longer than individuals from other disability groups. Not surprisingly, having a significant disability increases the amount of time and individual is in the VR system. Typically, individuals with TBI who exit with employment are in the VR system for over 2 years before exiting with a job.

Summary of Table #6:

Table 6 summary: Another metric that is interesting to look at is the total cost of services provided an individual while they were in their VR program. Compared to individuals with other disabilities, the mean cost of services purchased for individuals with TBI is typically higher. It should be noted that VR programs provide a wide range of services. Unfortunately, the RSA 911 does not allow us to know specifically how much was spent on the different services provided. It is also important to note that the cost of providing VR services may be miniscule when compared to the reduction in costs for public program transfers if a person gains sustainable employment.

Summary of Table #7:

Not everyone is Table 6 is someone who exited with a job. When looking at the cost of services purchased for an individual while they were in the VR system, it is interesting to look at the subgroup of individuals who exited with a job. This is the group shown in Table 7. Compared to individuals with other disabilities, the mean cost of services purchased for individuals with TBI is typically higher. It should be noted however that these are individuals who exited VR with employment, a very positive economic outcome.

Comments and questions are welcome.

Using a Handhelpd Computer as a Cognitive-Behavioral Tool, by Tony Gentry, PhD OTR/L

Dr. Gentry is a recognized expert in the field of assistive technology and cognitive prosthetics.  He recently shared this document with me, and generously granted permission for its distribution.

Intro-to-pda-as-cogaid Gentry 2014-07-28 perm to distribute

This paper answers important questions related to how and why products like Apple’s iPod and iPads and “the growing catalog of Android and Microsoft tablets” are becoming important devices for individuals with cognitive disabilities.  It also provides suggestions when trying to figure out “what to do first.”

  • Remembering to Do Things
  • Task-Sequencing and Wayfinding
  • Social Stories and Behavioral Cues
  • Stress Management
  • Academics, Healthy Living and Beyond

Dr. Gentry’s is the Director of the Assistive Technology for Cognition Laboratory at Virginia Commonwealth University.  His contact information is below:

Tony Gentry, PhD OTR/L
Associate Professor
Director, Assistive Technology for Cognition Laboratory
Department of Occupational Therapy
Virginia Commonwealth University
Room 2050
730 East Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23298

804-828-3397

Job Coaching / Job Development Workshop

Job coaching and job development for individuals with cognitive disabilities can be challenging — also frustrating, time-consuming and costly – for individuals who want to work as well as for their counselors, coaches, skills trainers and others in their circle of support.

If you are interested in participating in a half-day workshop focused on successful and time-tested strategies and tactics for supporting individuals with cognitive disabilities as they prepare for and search for meaningful, sustainable employment, please sign up for this workshop.

Offered by Kathy Moeller, BA, CBIS (Certified Brain Injury Specialist), President of Cognitive Harmonics, and Kate Tarter, BS, Independent Job Development Contractor with Oregon Vocational Rehabilitation, this workshop is expected to be held in Salem, Oregon during the month of October (details available on request).

To obtain more information, please contact Kathy Moeller at KathyM@AskKathyM.com.

 

Obtaining Assistive Technology

I just learned about a resource if you have questions about obtaining Assistive Technology.  Protection and Advocacy for Assistive Technology (PAAT) – Technical Support Center

They are described as “the technical support center for Protection and Advocacy for Assistive Technology (PAAT) projects in the 50 states and 7 territories (6 territories and the Native American project).”

They field inquiries from individuals with disabilities, equipment suppliers, equipment manufacturers, therapists, students, etc., answer questions they already know, and try to help find answers to the questions they don’t know about   They are headquartered in New York and if you are outside New York, they will refer you to the PAAT project in your state (since they may not be familiar with state laws other than NY and their attorneys cannot practice law in any state but New York).

They encourage answering specific questions or raising specific issues. Let me know if you find this to be a helpful resource.  KathyM

 

Voice-to-text voicemail conversion

I use YouMail Visual Voicemail, and it works well for me.  It gives me quick VISUAL access to my voice mail messages.  I am told it increases productivity for many whose speed of processing is slower than it used to be. It also makes voice mail sort-able and See http://www.youmail.com/

 

“Clarify and Verify”

“Clarify and Verify” is perhaps one of the most POWERFUL compensatory skills (habits) an individual with cognitive inconveniences can practice.  It’s a common communication technique, but for anyone who is challenged with “mis-hearing,” “mis-remembering,” or other mis’s brain injury can cause this simple phrase often saves the day:

“Let me see if I heard you correctly.  You said (or asked me to) ___________________.  Is that right?”

Then write down the results (or speak the results into you iPad or other recording device). Not only is this good for you (the person asking for verification), it’s good for the person you are talking to.  It’s good for the relationship too.  The two-way communication “street” will be clear of clutter and misunderstanding.  And when others see you writing down the results, they will start to gain confidence that they are heard and you will know, if not remember, what was said and agreed upon. Employers are especially appreciative of this communication practice.  Don’t be surprised if they start using it, and asking others they work with to use it too!

Thank you Francis, for this valuable phrase.

Everything in ONE PLACE

To function at the level I wish to function, I need all the information I was once able to find in my head, organized in a way I can see it.  For me, that means that all the “bits” I need, have to be visually available and all in one place.  No easy task!

One way to have everything in one place for work tasks and projects is using multiple computer monitors.  Most people do not use this many., but after slowly adding one at a time, this is what I ended up with. For individuals with brain injury who have office jobs, one extra monitor is often helpful and two extra monitors are generally sufficient.  These also fall into the category of “reasonable accommodations.”

The reason all this because they make needed information visually available. I can alternate attention (“switch gears”) and maintain focus without struggle to do the impossible with my unreliable organic brain. Less stress. Less struggle.

Focus with multiple monitors

In days past, one of my most powerful visual resources for keeping “everything” in one place, was my (paper-based) BRAIN BOOK®, which was always open to the central “TODAY” page.  Tabs that organized all the important sections, flared out left and right (see below left).  Many of my students have made their own brain books, either with or without the masters we used for BRAIN BOOK® System.  Let me know if you want a list of the most helpful section headings or Masters for printing insert pages.

BBS Tabs as visual cues

Now my personal My Bionic Brain® does the same thing, but in key-word searchable electronic form on an iPad.  By keeping My Bionic Brain® open to the main TODAY screen, I have my primary visual cues in full view.  Reference Notes, documents, e-mails, TO DO Lists and scheduled tasks and appointments re never lost or “spaced.”  I call it my “BRAIN BOOK on steroids.” And yes, it sits on my desk next to me, along with all the monitors. ♥

For a PDF of the image below: TRI-FOLD brochure

Everything in One Place