Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth." Genesis 9:13

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Vocational Rehab is a freebie

Emilija mentioned in a comment a few things of note. One is that I think telling employers early is a good, good thing. It is also good to get things in writing. I cannot work without certain accomodations (basic things) and my last company let me have them for years, then started trying to back out and fighting me about it not being required that they accomodate, etc. It is, and if it's in writing they have no outs.

Vocational rehab is a state-funded program available to anyone with a disability. It's got different names in different states, but vocational rehab is the basic name. (I use vocational rehab here to help keep my state unknown). The purpose is to find ways for people with disabilities to work. In my case they are trying to find accomodations to help me meet job requirements I currently can't. They are also helping me to determine if it is appropriate for me to continue working in the environment I work in, or if I need to consider a change. If change is needed they'll help me figure out what else I can do. They will assist with educational needs, equipment, advocacy, education of the company, mediation, providing a caregiver to assist to meet needs, whatever is required to let people work.

The only requirement for assistance is a documented disability which affects your ability to obtain or maintain employment. In this state you can refer yourself or someone can refer you. I referred myself. I had to wait about a month for an appointment, and then I filled out a lot of paperwork and releases. My psychologist had to submit an evaluation which was kind of hard to read because he had to talk about my lowest and highest abilities, and it was scary to see how low I can go; in fact he marked that when ill enough I can be poor in all areas listed. I can't remember if anyone had to send something in; I did get something from my eye doctor because I have visual issues as well.

After that it's been a twisted path, but now we're on track and hopefully soon someone will know how to help me.


Emilija said...

Finding a good match with your job is so important. I deliberately chose to work in acute rehab. It was structured, it was social, and there were other OT's around to learn from and get support. It was like going to day treatment! Now I've been transferred to outpatient where the paperwork is much worse (and I have learning disabilities), there are no other OT's around, and I am totally on my own in a field that I haven't been trained in. It is a lot more interesting and challanging, but work is no longer the safe, comfortable, supportive place that it was. First this threw me into a depression, which I am starting to come out of. I'm trying to find a therapist to deal with work issues. I want to make it work at my new placement. I hope that I can.

Just Me said...


Being transferred into a situation that doesn't work for you is something that the ADA protects against. Adding structure to the very unstructured existence of my job is a major goal. You have to have documentation of this need, but at that point if they have an acute job available and you're qualified to do it, they should keep you there to maximize your functioning.

I'm avoiding the cough syrup so I'll go now, but it sounds like voc. rehab might be beneficial to you. I think of it as having people help me say "this is what I need", which is pretty scary to say in a big company.