[nabs-l] Slow Acting VR Counciler

Beth thebluesisloose at gmail.com
Mon Aug 1 01:11:17 UTC 2011


WHich reminds me, Ashley,
	I reigned a job I had via the CCB because they were making 
ll the decisions abo9ut where I'd work and the commute.  I'd 
had to commute from Englewood all the way to Boulder!  
Uh-uh.  I'm not going anywhere near there.  Anyway, that's 
speaking of VR counselors who try to mke you do a certain 
job.  Sorry, but I need to get my degree and get my job.  
The regular way, that is.
Beth

 ----- Original Message -----
From: <bookwormahb at earthlink.net
To: "National Association of Blind Students mailing list" 
<nabs-l at nfbnet.org
Date sent: Sun, 31 Jul 2011 21:01:02 -0400
Subject: Re: [nabs-l] Slow Acting VR Counciler

Arielle,
Amen, amen! VR is broken. My VR counselor is one who fails to 
communicate
promptly, will not return phone calls, and did not get my 
equipment on time
either.
Fortunately, as a middle class person my parents chipped in with 
lots of
technology funding and school funding but they cannot do it all. 
A 6 k
notetaker, for instance, is too much.
I have tried not to rely on VR much. If I want a certain job, I 
pursue it
regardless of what my vr counselor thinks.

Ashley

-----Original Message-----
From: Arielle Silverman
Sent: Sunday, July 31, 2011 8:36 PM
To: National Association of Blind Students mailing list
Subject: Re: [nabs-l] Slow Acting VR Counciler

Hi Brianna and all,
Warning-This will be a rather cynical post, and I apologize in 
advance
for the cynicism. However, I feel it beneficial to discuss what I 
have
observed of the VR system, as well as offer some practical advice 
for
getting around the issues you are having and others you may come
across as you continue through college.
I have been out of high school for eight years now, and was a VR
client myself for three of those years. I have also heard 
countless
stories similar to yours, and often worse, from my time as 
president
of Arizona's student division and an officer of NABS. 
Unfortunately, I
have concluded that the voc rehab system is highly flawed, and 
cannot
be depended upon for much, especially your college education. I 
have
heard about students waiting for months or years to get 
technology
ordered or to get the necessary paperwork to go to training
centers-even procedures that are relatively routine take way too 
long.
I have also heard about counselors who fail to communicate with
clients or return their calls or emails, or who try to give
inappropriate directives about what careers clients should or
shouldn't pursue. Now granted, there are definitely some good,
competent, dedicated counselors and VR staff out there who 
completely
respect blind people and actively support their pursuits, but I'm
afraid that's not the norm. The VR system has many problems, not 
the
least of which being its perpetual lack of funding. As a result, 
VR
offices tend to be short-staffed and counselors are overwhelmed 
with
too many clients, unable to give each client the time and 
attention
their case deserves. Furthermore, I believe the standards for 
hiring
VR counselors are pretty low, and I've definitely encountered 
more
than one counselor who just isn't competent enough to get things 
done
efficiently and well. It's an important system with lofty 
objectives
of helping blind people get college degrees and jobs, but it's a
broken one.
So yes, you should definitely keep nagging your counselor, and 
their
supervisor, and the director of the VR agency, until you get your
equipment and your case transferred. But in the meantime, it's 
vitally
important to have backups in place that don't rely on VR at all, 
so
that you can start college on the right foot, and your life 
doesn't
have to depend upon waiting for the flawed VR system to figure 
out how
to handle your case. I'll give some suggestions for backups you 
might
want to start using while you're waiting, for the three things 
you
mentioned: technology, money for school, and O&M instruction.
For technology: I'd suggest finding out if your parents or 
another
family member could help you pay for a basic portable computer, 
like a
Netbook ($500 or less) or a Macbook (perhaps; I don't know how 
much
Macbooks cost, but if you get one, you won't need to worry about
screenreading software). You really don't need a fancy laptop or
desktop for schoolwork, and while many people find Braille 
displays
and notetakers helpful, I think you can get by without it until 
VR
comes through. And here's a little secret: You can get a demo 
version
of JAWS for free, and unless they've changed something in the 
past few
years, demo JAWS is exactly the same as the full version except 
that
you have to restart your computer frequently. It's certainly a
nuisance to keep restarting, but it's a decent workaround if you 
don't
have the funds to shell out for a full-version screenreader. So 
then,
all you have to buy is a basic computer, which is comparable to 
what
virtually all sighted college freshmen get. If your DSS office or
library provides public scanners, you may not need to buy one, 
but if
you do, you can get a mainstream multifunction printer that comes 
with
basic OCR software.
Second, paying for school: The best solution would be a Pell 
grant.
Are you a resident in the state where you'll be going to school? 
If
so, you should be eligible. If not, there are other forms of 
federal
student aid that you can apply for, if you haven't already.
Finally, O&M is something you can work around at least 
temporarily. If
you contact the DSS office at your school, they might be able to
provide at least a general orientation to the buildings you will 
be
going to for classes and an overview of the campus layout. You 
don't
need to learn the whole campus. If DSS doesn't provide that 
service,
you could ask the resident assistant (RA) in your dorm if they 
can
hook you up with a student ambassador or someone else who can 
show you
where those buildings are. Most O&M instructors will do just 
that, and
not much more than what you can get from any old student who 
knows
their way around. If what you want is more skill training (like
learning how to use public transit, cross streets etc.) that's
important too, but it can wait a few weeks until your case gets 
set.
I hope this is helpful. The bottom line is that you are in charge 
of
your education, and there are many resources you can use to 
accomplish
your goals in school and beyond. Some of those resources are
blindness-specific; others are the same resources available to 
all
college students. VR is just one of many resources at your 
disposal.
They can offer lots of good stuff, but on the downside, they 
aren't
always dependable. The more alternative resources you can line 
up, the
better. I personally didn't open a VR case at all until I was a 
senior
in college and wanted to go to LCB after graduation. After LCB, I 
let
my case close and didn't reopen when I moved to Colorado for grad
school. I actually liked not being a VR client, and found it 
rather
freeing. I could take whatever classes I felt like taking or 
switch my
major or vocational goal every month if I wanted to, without ever
having to justify anything to anyone. Granted, I had a merit
scholarship and my parents were able to assist me with 
technology, and
I recognize those circumstances don't happen to everyone. Many of 
us
can benefit greatly from VR, when they have their act together. 
When
they don't, you might have to be a little creative to find 
alternative
resources, but they're out there.

Best of luck,
Arielle

On 7/31/11, bookwormahb at earthlink.net <bookwormahb at earthlink.net> 
wrote:
 Hi Beth,
 I just reread your message and you said CO DVR; I missed that 
when hearing
 with jaws somehow; probably since its one syllable.

 Yes you should have a case in CO  where you reside.
 I'd say if they move too slow, talk to a supervisor of the 
office. Also
 document your communication.
 I think there should be a VR manual of rights and 
responsibilities for
 each
 state. Read it and find out their procedures for opening cases; 
it should
 outline the appropriate time line.
 Good luck.
 Ashley

 -----Original Message-----
 From: Beth
 Sent: Sunday, July 31, 2011 5:31 PM
 To: National Association of Blind Students mailing list
 Subject: Re: [nabs-l] Slow Acting VR Counciler

 I'm waiting on Medicaid, but have to use my dad's insurance, and
 a very high copay.  That's whuat I'm worried about.  I'll
 probably spend a lot on a prescription drug this week so that I
 can flush the infection out.  I need to be all cured by next 
week
 or the first week of classes.  I also need to figure out how to
 get my Pell Grant.  I'm just opening the case here in CO because
 Florida is no longer my state of residence.  Doesn't make sense
 to have a case in Florida.  Thanks for the well wishes, Ashley.
 Thanks a bunch.
 Beth

 ----- Original Message -----
 From: <bookwormahb at earthlink.net
 To: "National Association of Blind Students mailing list"
 <nabs-l at nfbnet.org
 Date sent: Sun, 31 Jul 2011 16:31:10 -0400
 Subject: Re: [nabs-l] Slow Acting VR Counciler

 Beth,
 Hope you get well! Do you have medicade?
 I'm confused. Do you live in Denver and want to go to school
 there? It
 sounds like your VR case is in florida though. So are you saying
 Florida VR
 is paying for  your out of state tuition  in Co? Good luck with
 your plans.
 Oh and going out of state to any center is tough. If your state
 has an in
 state center, they want that one, even if you select another
 better run
 traditional center.

 Ashley


 -----Original Message-----
 From: Beth
 Sent: Sunday, July 31, 2011 2:57 PM
 To: National Association of Blind Students mailing list
 Subject: Re: [nabs-l] Slow Acting VR Counciler

 Hey, Brianna.  I had problems with DBS not sending me to CCB 
till
 I screamed at them and made them do it.  I was the squeaky wheel
 that got the grease, pretty much.  I'm having a problem with CO
 DVR acting slow, and I just came down with something serious and
 have to go to the doctor.  My boyffriend says he'll meet me at
 the bus stop and we'll go together.  It'll be nice because then 
I
 can goo to a doctor.  But I need a checkup because I think I 
have
 a serious infection.  Worst off, I might not go to school till
 January becausee I have no money to pay for books and school.
 DVR just thought of assigning me a counselor, but I don't know
 where they are, and I moved from one place to another.  It's 
kind
 of weird because I sort of know the Denver area, but I don't
 travel too often.  So I'm in your shoes, but worse.  My transfer
 to the office in Tallahassee from the office in Brevard County
 was quick, but there's a problem.  I don't know if Florida will
 allow me to go to school here in CO.  So anyone give us both 
tips
 and advice?  Anybody got any tips?  Thanks.
 Beth

 ----- Original Message -----
 From: Brianna Scerenscko <bfs1206 at gmail.com
 To: National Association of Blind Students mailing list
 <nabs-l at nfbnet.org
 Date sent: Sun, 31 Jul 2011 14:39:21 -0400
 Subject: [nabs-l] Slow Acting VR Counciler

 Hello NABS Members,

 My name is Brianna.
 I will be starting my first semester at Flagler in 3 weeks.
 I submitted justifications for technology to my Division Of 
Blind
 Services office back in April.  Just the other day I get an e
 mail
 from my counciler saying that I have been apruved for technology
 and
 funding of my Learning Ally membership.
 I thought I had already been apruved and the technology had
 already
 been ordered.
 My counciler can't transfer my case to the office in 
Jacksonville
 until all my technology has been received and she can't tell me
 when
 that will be.  I need to meet with the office in Jacksonville
 soon to
 meet my counciler and O&M instructore, and also find out if DBS
 will
 still cover some of the cost of going to college and also for
 them to
 find me a reader.
 DBS can't tell me when my case will be transfered either.
 What should I do? School starts in 3 weeks.

 Thank You

 Brianna

 On 7/31/11, Aubrie Lucas <aubielynn at gmail.com> wrote:
 Exactly what I was going to suggest.

 -----Original Message-----
 From: nabs-l-bounces at nfbnet.org
 [mailto:nabs-l-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf
 Of Kirt Manwaring
 Sent: Sunday, July 31, 2011 8:20 AM
 To: National Association of Blind Students mailing list
 Subject: Re: [nabs-l] warning I'm getting on Facebook

 Haha, nothing to worry about.  Hit the refresh button (f5) and
 you'll be
 fine.

 On 7/31/11, Chris Nusbaum <dotkid.nusbaum at gmail.com> wrote:
 Hi everyone,

 I'm getting this warning message when I hit the go back command
 on Facebook Mobile.  I've pasted it below.  What does this mean?
 Thanks! Here's the message:

   Warning: Page has Expired
 The page you requested was created using information you
 submitted in a form.  This page is no longer available.  As a
 security precaution, Internet Explorer does not automatically
 resubmit your information for you.
    To resubmit your information and view this Web page, click 
the
 Refresh button.

 Chris

 "A loss of sight, never a loss of vision!" (Camp Abilities
 motto)

 The I C.A.N.  Foundation helps visually impaired youth in
 Maryland have the ability to confidently say "I can!" How? Click
 on this link to learn more and to contribute:
 www.icanfoundation.info or like us on Facebook at I C.A.N.
 Foundation.

 Sent from my BrailleNote

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 --
 Brianna Scerenscko

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