[nfbmi-talk] rehab counselors

christywitte at sbcglobal.net christywitte at sbcglobal.net
Thu Apr 14 20:22:20 UTC 2011


I am so glad that you have such questions; I believe you are on your way to 
becoming a thoughtful and consienscious rehabilitation counselor. I think 
you should spend the majority of your time working with individuals who are 
seriously looking for work and have the legitimate skills to actually obtain 
and maintain a job. As far as being a rehab counselor and disclosing the 
client's disability, that would be up to the client. Eventually, the 
employer is going to find out anyway and the client and you really have to 
sit down and analyze the job situation to assess weather or not your client 
has the abilities and the requirements to perform his or her 
responsibilities. This is crucial because the during the interview process, 
the client is going to have to explain how he or she can perform the duties 
of the job.

I'm not sure what the commission's policy is on vocational goals you need to 
see what the client wants to do. If you are trying to get the client "any 
job" and he or she is not motivated or doesn't want to work in a certain 
profession, then he or she is going to be less likely to attempt to maintain 
employment in that arena. You should obtain the client's input as to what he 
or she wants their career to be. Yu should then assess the availability of 
jobs in this area and explain it to the client. You should see if the client 
is medically well enough to perform the job. One good way to due this is by 
having some clients volunteer in their field so that they know what the work 

For example, I have a blind friend who wishes to be involved in music but 
obviously doesn't have the talent to be a hit artist in my opinion.

You should know what the client's philosophy is on blindness, as well, as it 
relates to him and herself. You should be honest with your client about how 
much work you will be able to do with him or her and what is available. As 
far as obtaining accessible equipment, they obviously need to familiarize 
themselves with the equipment but should also agree to pursue his or her 
goals in preparation for work.

As far as utilizing other career services through other agencies, it is very 
situational and all agencies are different. My personal experience is that 
they are clueless about blindness and don't was to readily work with blind 
people, referring them for the Commission for the blind. Many such people 
don't know what the Commission is there for and think that they have an 
endless amount of money and due everything for blind people. Many generic 
programs for the blind, if they don't get paid on commission or if the blind 
person isn't interested in the field, then it is a waist of time and money.

You should also know that many schools do not equip blind people for work 
and neither do universities. Many parents don't make their blind children do 
chores around the house and therefore the blind person may be very booksmart 
but low on actual work experience. I've seen many successful people who went 
through the NFB centers, and in the end, it isn't a waist of money because 
it actually puts the blind person out in the real world to gain confidence, 
which many blind people who have never been employed lack.

I received a degree in English and psychology, which both really require 
further education to get a real job these days. My work experience has been 
limited to phone work and teaching Braille and tutoring sighted people. My 
case was eventually closed because of my ongoing medical problems which 
prevented me from maintaining jobs.

I know there are plenty of blind folks who are successful workers or have 
been and have the experience and motivation to do great things. My knowledge 
has been limited to my and others' experiences. College isn't necessary for 
everyone and I would encourage all college students to do as much paid work 
and volunteer work as possible. Blind people aren't really different from 
other people. There are lazy ones and motivated ones, varying levels of 
intelligence etc.

I am totally blind which can be a different experience for one who has gone 
blind or who has some usable vision. I hope this doesn't anger anyone on the 
list but it is my honest assessment.
Christy hope this is helpful to you and others on the list.
----- 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 9:42 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."
>> http://www.detnews.com/article/20110405/METRO/104050434/1361/Group-says-Detroit-Public-School-officials-hindering-assault-probe
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