SVRI - Archived Section Noll et al.

Survey of State Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor Roles and Competencies in Assistive Technology


Abstract

The delivery of assistive technology (AT) within the state and federal vocational rehabilitation systems in the United States has been developing and refining itself over the last twenty years. Many challenges have been confronted in an attempt to use this relatively new service to increase the employment options and success for individuals with disabilities. In this process, the rehabilitation counselor serves as a critical player in the planning and delivery of AT as it articulates with other rehabilitation services. This study investigated counselor views regarding their role and competence in providing AT services and devices to individuals with disabilities throughout the state of Wisconsin. The results of the survey indicated, in general, that counselors find AT to be a cost-effective service that can increase employment related outcomes. As with other service areas, the counselors' role in AT service delivery involves coordinating, purchasing and following up on services. Interestingly, while counselors expressed confidence in performing these overall functions, they reported a lack of confidence in identifying the need for AT services. Without a comfort level to make this determination, benefits from the implementation of AT may be quite limited. Results suggest that intervention is needed to improve counselors' abilities to make decisions regarding AT services.

Authors

Al Noll1, Laura Owens2, Roger O. Smith2, Todd Schwanke2

1Stout Vocational Rehabilitation Institute, University of Wisconsin-Stout, Menomonie, WI, USA
2University of Wisconsin-Milwaukeem, Milwaukee, WI, USA