Archives Point of View

What to do when the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Impacts Case Settlements:
The Benefits of an Accessibility-Focused Case Evaluation

A White Paper by Michael Fiore

One of the likely unintended consequences of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is that Special Need Trusts (SNT’s) may be impacted due to settlement criteria that can be based on past, present, and future medical needs.

Read the White Paper

Teleseminars on Disability, Diversity, and the Changing Workforce. One hour of learning that can change the way that you think.

Tech Update: Read an article about the implications of 32-bit and 64-bit processors for Assistive Technology Solutions.

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A Job Board for job seekers with disabilities and the businesses looking to hire them.

Rehabilitation Consulting - Do Not Lose Sight of the Humanity

In loose terms, rehabilitation is defined as the restoration of maximum independence to a person with a disability that is commensurate with his or her limitations by developing his or her residual capacity. Basically, to restore a person’s ability to achieve their highest goals - within reason.

That is exactly what Vocational Rehabilitation attempts to do, of course - concentrating most pointedly on employment goals.

Those of us in the Vocational Rehabilitation business have many hurdles to leap in order to achieve this end. To more clearly demonstrate what I mean by this, the following will examine a case study.

Let’s take the case that there is a man named Jim who would like to return to work. Jim is in his late thirties and has a disability as the result of a car accident. He has no mobility from his neck down and he has not been in the work force for years, but he has recently decided he would like to re-enter the workforce doing full-time data entry.

Now, while this may seem like an insurmountable challenge, to a Rehabilitation Consultant, making this occur, at least at a theoretical level, is not very complicated. It’s a matter of acquiring the appropriate technology and undergoing the proper training. In this case, the consumer would need a speech recognition device with about 25 hours of training so that Jim can navigate his computer without using his hands. Additionally, Jim will need an appropriate work-station with hours of training to teach him how to use his location efficiently, and with ergonomic benefits. Finally, let us say that Jim will profit from 3 new types of software that will require a total of 40 hours of training. Good enough – for a mere 75 hours of training, Jim is out there doing his thing and all is right with the world. Right?

Or, is it possible that we’re missing something? We have followed a logical training regiment that is designed to focus on the technologies that will lead to Jim’s success. Technology training solves everything, right? The fact is – NO – technology training does not solve everything.

Well then, what did we miss?

I submit that we missed something that is easy to neglect because it is hard to resolve. We missed the issue of fear, of humanity. We forgot that Jim is a person subject to all the self-doubt and worry to which all people are subject.

As consultants, we are used to looking at problems (or “opportunities” for those of us who like to kid ourselves), and creating solutions. When we become “effective” or “good” consultants - far too often, we also become mechanical. We take the humanity out of the equation and replace it with formulas and numbers.

We train around the technology, not the consumer.

I don’t mean to gouge at the eyes of Rehabilitation Consultants – nor do I mean to undermine the importance of technology. Without technology, rehabilitation is not possible. However, without understanding the consumer, technology does not work.

I write this as much for myself as I do anyone else. This is a reminder to me, really. I need to be better. I need to listen harder and understand more. I should look at myself and consider the fears and hopes that follow me everyday.

Ours is a business of life, of emotion, of love, and of fear. What is it that scares me? What is it that I am truly lacking? Is it confidence, or could it be something more fundamental? What are the worries that keep me awake at night?

Ultimately, what is the truth about people? What is the truth about you? We can’t help consumers solve any problem unless we can get people to be honest about what their problems are?

We are all trapped in the net of life and time, and while technology training is necessary to help us grow, it will never be enough, on it’s own, to fill a contented heart. We know technology now let us get to know people.

For more information, contact Seth Acosta.


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