Radio Inspire

How To Learn Sign Language

American Sign Language version of VR Orientation Video

Hi! I’m Sarah. I’ve been asked to tell you few things
about VR. That’s short for vocational rehabilitation. They tell me I’m a star graduate of the
program. I don’t know about that, but what I do know is that VR has made a big difference in my life. I have a spinal cord injury and bipolar
disorder and at times I have trouble
communicating and working with people, which has cost me several jobs. I really wanted to work full time and
become independent, but it turned out to be a lot more
difficult than I thought it would. Then a friend told me to give VR a
call and that was the best thing I could have done for myself. After getting a little more information
about the program, I attended the orientation at my local VR office and learned how VR could help me become
employed. They were so caring and understanding. At first, I didn’t know what I wanted to
do or even what I would be good at, so my VR counselor and I found a
job that matched my abilities, interests, and needs. Now after training and some blood sweat and tears, I have a new career meet Sarah Johnson, library
administrative assistant. I check out books and reshelve them
when they’re returned. I’ve been able to get my own apartment and I’m supporting myself. Am I happy? You bet! Thanks to VR. They go to work for you so you can go to
work. VR is one of the state’s best kept
secrets. It’s a rehabilitation program with the goal of employment for people
with disabilities. They help you qualify for and find
suitable employment. It’s a voluntary, individualized, and time-limited program. They only work with you as long as you
need them to find a job. To qualify for rehab services, you must
have a physical or mental disability that’s diagnosed by a doctor,
psychologist, or licensed professional. In my case, I was evaluated by
several specialists. Actually I had been seeing them for some
time and just needed to provide my recent
records to my counselor. Your disability must prevent you from
getting or keeping a job and you must require VR services. Once you qualify for services, a series
of steps lead to employment. First, the services provided to reach
employment are individualized. What works for someone else may not work
for you. Second, the services must be jointly developed
and agreed upon by you and your counselor. In other words it’s a cooperative effort. VR calls this informed choice. And third, services are time limited. Your rehabilitation plan is designed
with a specific goal in mind, securing employment. After you’ve applied for VR services, your counselor has sixty days to gather
the necessary information and determine your eligibility. I’ve asked my VR counselor John
to help me explain how it all works. During your first meeting, that’s where, as they say the rubber meets the road. A lot goes on during that meeting so it’s best to come prepared. Yes, you undergo a comprehensive assessment as your VR counselor gathers as much information as possible about you work history, education and training, abilities and
interests, rehabilitation needs, and possible career goals. You might be asked all kinds of questions such as, what do you expect from VR and
how can you work with your counselor to find the best vocational goal. If existing information is not enough
to determine whether you are eligible for services, VR will provide assessment services to
determine the exact nature of your disability and how it might affect your
employment possibilities. For example, you might be sent to a physical
therapist who will test your physical ability to lift, bend, twist, or carry. Or you might be interviewed by a
psychologist or another specialist like I was. Your VR counselor may set up and pay for
these assessments if they’re not available through your personal insurance. Be sure to bring in any information
regarding your disability to your first VR appointment, things like medical records that list the
names of doctors or therapists you have seen along with
dates and a list of medications you are taking. Since VR does not have enough money to
provide services for everyone who’s eligible, they’ve implemented an order of selection. Everyone who’s determined eligible for
services is placed on a waiting list until the funds become available to offer
those services. Following federal law, VR will serve people with the most
significant disabilities first and others will be served as money becomes
available. To be considered a person with the most
significant disability, you must be seriously limited in how you can function
at work. These limitations can include mobility, self-care, communication, self-direction,
interpersonal skills, work tolerance, and work skills. And you must require three more services
that will last at least a year. VR will also look at your income to
determine if you’ll be required to share in the cost of VR services. Some individuals or services may be exempt and a person will not have to pay. I was required to pay ten percent towards the cost of my services. If you’re determined not eligible for
the VR program, your case is closed and you may be directed to other resources
such as a one-stop career center or centers for independent living or any
number of community services. Once you’ve applied, been determined
eligible for services, and are activated from the waiting list, you and your counselor will look at possible career
choices. John helped me develop my individualized
plan for employment or IPE, something I fondly call my road map
to success. The plan includes your specific job goal
and when you expect to reach it. It includes a list of the services needed
to reach your job goal, who the service providers will be, starting a projected end dates, and funding arrangements for the
services. This includes services and benefits from
programs or sources other than VR that will help you reach your goal. (Sarah) The IPE also outlines the tasks and
responsibilities you need to complete, after all it’s a two-way street. My plan said I was responsible for
finishing my required coursework with a C or better, among other things. You need to be committed to the program
and fulfill your obligations as listed on your IPE. You also need to cooperate and actively
participate, making every effort to seek additional funding sources for your
rehabilitation. (John) Finally, you need to communicate. Good communication with your counselor is
a must. Follow through with your appointments
and responsibilities and your VR experience will go smoothly. You have rights too. Everything is kept confidential. VR must get your permission to
request or release medical or other records. VR will not discriminate. And remember, you have a right to appeal
if you disagree with the decision. Finally, your individualized plan for employment
includes what part of the services you will pay for, if any. Before providing certain services, your
VR counselor will see if other sources such as medical insurance or medicaid
will pay for the service. There are certain services that are
available to all eligible individuals regardless of financial
resources, so you’ll want to ask about those. When you’re ready for employment, your
VR counselor will help you find a job. John helped me write my resume, and he worked with me on how to interview so I’d be more comfortable when it came
time for the real thing. It went something like this… Hello, I’m John Williams. I’m Sarah Johnson, thank you for seeing me today. Okay, well, I’d like to start our interviewed by asking, why do you want to work in a library, Sarah? I’ve always loved reading and the library
was one of my favorite places to go and learn about different cultures and
research different subjects. Okay, Well, that’s great. Your resume shows that you’ve had computer and data systems training. The last phase in your employment plan is getting a job in your chosen field. After ninety days of satisfactory
employment, you’re considered successfully employed and your case is
closed. Oh, if you need VR services to maintain
your employment, you may be eligible for post-employment services. That’s me, successfully employed. I was so excited when my case was finally closed
and I’d achieved my goal, working at a job I love. That’s a little bit about the VR
process. Always feel free to ask your counselor questions about anything, and
remember, having a disability does not mean you
lack abilities. VR is there to help put those
abilities to work for you.

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