1999 Conference Proceedings

Go to previous article 
Go to next article 
Return to 1999 Conference Table of Contents


INTERDISCIPLINARY REHABILITATION TECHNOLOGY TRAINING PROGRAM: A FIELD-BASED APPROACH

Dr. Robert Flexer
Professor and Director
Center for Innovations in Transition and Employment
Kent State University, College of Education
300 White Hall
Kent, Ohio 44420
(330) 672 - 3833
rflexer@educ.kent.edu

Dr. Robert Baer
Director Outreach Program
Center for Innovations in Transition and Employment
Kent State University, College of Education
300 White Hall
Kent, Ohio 44420
(330) 672 - 3833
rbear@educ.kent.edu

Rita Edelman
Program Coordinator
Cooperative Transitional Services Program
Kent State University, College of Education
300 White Hall
Kent, Ohio 44420
(330) 672 - 3833
redelman@kent.edu

Lynn M. Frateschi
Program Coordinator
Cooperative Transitional Services Program
Kent State University, College of Education
300 White Hall
Kent, Ohio 44420
(330) 672 - 3833
lfrateschi@kent.edu

ABSTRACT

One of the greatest opportunities for persons with disabilities to develop the highest level of independence possible lies in the effective application of technology in work, education, and independent living. This potential often appears to be unrealized because rehabilitation technologists and rehabilitation counselors remain largely unaware of what each field has to offer the other. Traditional approaches that focus on training specialists fail to address this interdisciplinary need. Accordingly, much of the problem may relate to a failure to link technology to the individual life needs of persons with disabilities.

The approach described in this proposal is designed to address the issue by creating an interdisciplinary rehabilitation technology curriculum, combined with technology-focused, field-based experiences in transition, employment, and post-secondary settings. The integrated masters-level curriculum includes a nine-hour technology track taught by a practicing rehabilitation technologist/engineer.

The Rehabilitation counseling participants spend time in technology field-based experiences involving rotation between transition, employment, and post-secondary sites. The latter part of the experience is spent in a field site specific to the participant's interests and/or academic program -- transition education, post-secondary education, or employment concentrations. The following objectives are addressed as a result of these activities:

Facilities uniquely suited to implement a project of this nature would ideally be in a position to develop an interdisciplinary approach to rehabilitation technology.

In the presentation, desired outcomes of this type of training on students and professionals are explored through case studies in various environments. The scenarios demonstrate transition environments describe how rehabilitation technology is used in job exploration, job carving, and job training. Applications in post-secondary environments describe how technology is used in academic settings, paraprofessional positions, and daily life.

The first case study concerning a transition environment focuses a 20-year-old, male student who utilized a Macintosh laptop PowerBook with Speaking Dynamically and Boardmaker software set to scan mode. The system is activated via a jelly bean elbow switch. Although, this student has limited movement in his extremities, he desired a career that enabled him to interact with people. Initial job exploration included working as a greeter at a local sporting facility and as a classroom assistant in a local child development center. A storyteller position was carved in the facility due to the need for reading time in the classroom curriculum. This experience has lead to a job trial as facilitator of small group activities at a local senior center.

The post-secondary case study focuses on activities of a 32-year-old graduate student who utilizes screen reading software and speech synthesis, voice recorders, and optical character recognition hardware and software. This graduate student is working toward a master's degree in rehabilitation counseling. As part of his paraprofessional training, this student does job development, carving, and coaching, supervision of undergraduate field experiences, and data recording. The acquisition, dissemination, and assimilation of data are accomplished via Windows systems and screen reading technologies. These same technologies are applied in academic projects and daily life.


Go to previous article 
Go to next article 
Return to 1999 Conference Table of Contents 
Return to Table of Proceedings


Reprinted with author(s) permission. Author(s) retain copyright.