If securing competitive employment is going to be challenging to someone due to reasons including, but not limited to, being blind or deaf, having an intellectual impairment or have difficulty learning tasks necessary to maintain employment, a person may be eligible for the services offered by the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services.
‘Vocational rehabilitation services’ may include such things as job training and job sampling, education for specific employment situations and ongoing support in the form of job coaches and consultations. This is where DVRS comes in.
Our first contact with a representative with DVRS was at Ethan’s IEP meeting. A rep was contacted and invited by the social worker at Ethan’s school. You can request this or invite them yourself. I have found the office very responsive and helpful, so far.
Ethan has had very good success with job trials and employment tasks as he has been exposed to them in the final 2 years of his educational entitlement. Almost all of his assessments from job coaches have been positive and he has tried employment in retail work, sheltered workshop-type activities, various cleaning tasks, working in nursing home and school dining areas, garden centers and doggie daycares. He has exhibited the ability to learn a system and complete the required tasks.
To be honest, as a parent, it is difficult for me to gauge his employment potential. He behaves very differently at home than he does in his school and work setting (and for the most part – thank goodness :). The expectation is that he will succeed – such an important component to any environment! I have to believe the reports and responses he has received out in the community and be prepared to support any and all efforts to seek meaningful, competitive work situations.
When I think of what I want for Ethan on a daily basis, it can be trimmed down to a few basic facets – I want him to use his brain and be challenged on a level appropriate for him, learn new tasks, work with people and develop interpersonal relationships, burn a calorie or two and feel a sense of connection and satisfaction with his days. Is that too much to ask?
I didn’t think so either.
That is exactly what I told his very nice case worker. And she seemed to agree. It was an easy appointment. Ethan is not much for paperwork, so it was way easier for him than for me – but isn’t everything 😉
Several weeks after applying for services, we were informed via letter that Ethan qualified for vocational supports from the division.