[nfbmi-talk] rehab counselors

Fred wurtzel f.wurtzel at comcast.net
Thu Apr 14 17:06:01 UTC 2011

Hi cheryl,

Thank you for this post.  It is exactly what we all need to learn and think
about when we are working with MCB, whether our role is advocate or client.
regarding your question about the relationship, I see it that it is the
primary responsibility of the counselor to do the things you refer to, since
they are trained professionals, while the client, oftentimes, bring along a
lot of baggage which will impact on their ability to benefit from the
counseling relationship and related services.  The professionalism is a
tricky thing.  I have an ambiguous view, in that I expect the counselor to
be professional enough to have the kind of tool box of counseling approaches
that you describe and simultaneously have an appropriately personal and
caring attitude toward the clients.

For instance, in the NFB style training centers it is customary for staff to
eat lunch with clients, have them over to their homes for barbecues or other
activities and so on.  Each staff person does these things within their own
comfort zone.  The point is that role modeling and relating with clients as
equals and with respect is part of the rehabilitation process when it is
common for blind people to be treated in a paternalistic and condescending
way by friends, family and others.  The idea of first-class citizenship is
fundamental to my approach to rehabilitation.  My beliefs and attitudes are
heavily informed by the NFB and especially the writings of Dr. jernigan.
"Blindness: handicap or Characteristic" ) here is the link
http://www.nfb.org/Images/nfb/Publications/convent/blndnesh.htm) is one of
the most important documents I have ever read on this topic and, to me, is
fundamental to a healthy understanding of blindness and how it affects

I sure hope you are able to hold on to your values as expressed in this
post.  Further, I hope we, together, can work to inculcate these ideals
within MCB as an agency and each individual staff person within MCB.

I love this list when it gets down to brass tacks as your post has done so
eloquently.  Thank you.

warm Regards,


-----Original Message-----
From: nfbmi-talk-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:nfbmi-talk-bounces at nfbnet.org]
On Behalf Of Cheryl Wade
Sent: Thursday, April 14, 2011 10:30 AM
To: NFB of Michigan Internet Mailing List
Subject: Re: [nfbmi-talk] rehab counselors

Hello again,

I must correct something I said in my earlier post. There is, as counselors
see it, no such thing as a "bad client." If a client becomes angry or
refuses to go along with the program -- whatever that means -- it is the
counselor's signal that the current method isn't the right one. It is up to
the counselor to talk to the client about issues such as this and to change
the approach.

What I meant was, is there a possibility that clients as well as counselors
can do things that have a negative impact on the client/counselor
relationship? Or, are there clients who could change something they do and
make the experience more successful? Do you think counselors could do the
same thing? (I'm sure they can.)

We talked in class about why a counselor doesn't necessarily need to have a
disability, or a certain disability, to work with clients. If the counselor
is doing a good job, he/she will learn as much as possible about the
disability, check out assistive technology and work alongside the client to
make certain the technology isn't cumbersome, too complicated, requires
frequent repairs, etc. The counselor also asks the client about his/her
disability in detail, including cultural implications. I do believe, for
example, that people who are blind or visually impaired have cultural
aspects that unite us.

Cheryl Wade

----- Original Message -----
From: "Cheryl Wade" <wadecher at msu.edu>
To: "NFB of Michigan Internet Mailing List" <nfbmi-talk at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Thursday, April 14, 2011 8:42 AM
Subject: Re: [nfbmi-talk] rehab counselors

> Hello, all.
> I have read a bit on these posts about rehab counselors. I don't read many

> of the posts but I gather there's a good deal of discontent about these 
> folks. As a rehab counselor trainee -- seeking a master's right now -- I'm

> very interested in what you think about counselors. I do, however, want to

> pose some questions. I do this not to stick up for counselors, but to say 
> that rehabilitation is a two-way street. Please don't poke me in the eye 
> too hard over this.
> First, rehab counselors have many duties and, because of case loads and 
> funding cuts, those duties are likely to spike. Not only do counselors 
> need to help people find jobs, but they need to take detailed case notes, 
> fill out reams of paperwork, travel to various places to meet with 
> clients, evaluate clients in various ways so the counselor knows their 
> career interests and aptitudes, and ensure our profession's ethics are 
> maintained scrupulously. If we also are job developers, there are many 
> business and other relationships (which means lots of meetings) to attend 
> to.
> Here are some questions I wish we could discuss:
> * What makes a good counselor -- or a bad one, for that matter -- and what

> makes a good or a bad client?
> * How much help should a counselor provide, and what should the client 
> contribute?
> * Does the presence of a counselor put a client in jeopardy when the 
> counselor talks to a possible employer? The counselor, ethically, must 
> mention that he/she is, indeed, a rehabilitation counselor. That signals 
> to the employer that the client is a person with a disability. Now, the 
> employer is waiting to see what kind of disabled person will show up. How 
> does this impact the client's right to disclose that information when he/ 
> she chooses?
> * Should a client take a job simply to take a job, or should he/she refuse

> a job? Under what circumstances?
> * How does the level of computer access help or hinder persons who are 
> blind when they seek jobs?
> * What are ways in which counselors and clients can learn about their 
> communities so they know where to look for job opportunities?
> * How many hours a week should a person who is unemployed spend looking 
> for work?
> * Is it appropriate to seek help from other agencies besides MCB? Why or 
> why not?
> Now that I've short-circuited my brain and a few others', have a great 
> day.
> Cheryl Wade
> Michigan State University
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "joe harcz Comcast" <joeharcz at comcast.net>
> To: <nfbmi-talk at nfbnet.org>
> Sent: Monday, April 11, 2011 2:35 PM
> Subject: [nfbmi-talk] at last mpas sues someone
>> Group says Detroit Public School officials hindering assault probe
>> Mark Hicks / The Detroit News
>> The Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service is suing Detroit Public 
>> Schools, claiming the district hindered the nonprofit's investigation of 
>> a special
>> education student's alleged sexual assault last year.
>> According to the suit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court, the victim's 
>> legal guardian filed a complaint with the group in March 2010 alleging 
>> the student,
>> who has a disability, was assaulted by another student at an unnamed DPS 
>> school.
>> The guardian "had reported numerous previous incidents of assault and 
>> bullying" before the incident, the suit said.
>> Text DETNEWS to 64636 to get breaking news alerts on your phone.
>> When MPAS requested documents related to the alleged assault over the 
>> next year, DPS officials did not produce them, attorney Chris Davis said 
>> in the suit.
>> MPAS is charged with the responsibility under federal and state law to 
>> investigate allegations of abuse and neglect against people with 
>> disabilities
>> The group is calling for a judge to force the release of the records as 
>> required by law as well as pay attorney fees.
>> Steve Wasko, a spokesman for DPS, said the district hadn't seen the 
>> lawsuit and he couldn't comment on the allegations.
>> "DPS has consistently assisted (MPAS) and will continue to do so in 
>> accordance with the law," he said, adding: "The district just recently 
>> passed a new
>> bullying policy and we are focusing on educating student and staff in 
>> regard to bullying and harassment."
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