2000 Conference Proceedings

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Synergy in Accommodation

Harris Rosensweig, Manager Access Technology Services
SAF
1142 W. Evelyn Ave
Sunnyvale, CA 94086
Phone: (408) 245-7330
hrosensweig@sensoryaccess.com

Dean Hudson, Senior Access Technology Specialist
SAF
1142 W. Evelyn Ave
Sunnyvale, CA 94086
Phone: (408) 245-7330
dhudson@sensoryaccess.com



Underlying an effective and successful vocational accommodation for an individual who is blind or visually-impaired are a variety of crucial medical, functional, and technical issues which must be addressed by the service providers via a comprehensive methodology. This presentation explores such a methodology and presents to the audience topics such as: the anatomy of the eye, its associated pathologies, and functional vision assessment in the context of the client’s tasks. Additionally, client needs and job task analysis will be reviewed through actual case studies as a basis for effective technical recommendations and focused training strategies.

The field of rehabilitation requires service providers who work with individuals with disabilities to be skilled in numerous areas when considering workplace accommodation. These skills must include:

  1. the medical/pathological aspects, functional implications, and psychological characteristics of the disability;
  2. an in-depth understanding and ability to interpret the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Titles I & III, the Rehabilitation Act sections 501, 504, & 508; the Technology Act sections 255 & 256; and state & local employment laws;
  3. a comprehensive understanding of access technology as well as where this technology does or does not work well;
  4. professionals with the knowledge of how to purchase, install, and configure the technology for the client;
  5. training resources for instructing individuals with disabilities in the use of mainstream and adaptive technology.

When providing services to any person with a disability, each of the above-interrelated areas must be carefully assessed and woven into an effective plan for the client. Service providers who work with individuals who are blind or visually-impaired must keep this in mind when creating plans of action and effective solutions for clients obtaining employment, retaining existing employment, or completing an academic program. There is also a great need to clearly define the methodology that works best for accommodation and technical evaluation for individuals who are blind or visually impaired.

To fully understand the implications of a visual impairment, it is necessary to review the basic anatomy of the eye, along with the visual pathologies that can affect it. Additionally, it becomes crucial to understand the manners in which a visual pathology can affect the client's vision, and in so doing, we can better understand the limitations of the visual condition.

Next, a full job task review is needed to determine what the client's priorities are, and which tasks overshadow others in importance. A needs analysis would include determining which of the job tasks are not readily achievable by the client without some form of technical assistance or strategic change. Once the job task and needs analysis is complete, specific adaptive technologies can be tested for compatibility and efficacy.

Training is naturally the single greatest factor in retention once an accommodation has been made. There are two phases to training -- pre-employment technical training and on-the-job (OJT) technical training. Pre-employment training is training in a wide variety of applications that address most of the client's interests. The goal of this training is to provide sufficient proficiency and confidence that the client may then choose their vocational goal from their core interests, not from the perspective of their technical limitations. Additionally, the pre-employment training provides the client with the fundamentals so that future OJT will not be too expensive or prolonged. OJT nearly always addresses the specific needs of the job. Instead of a general training, OJT training focuses on only those tasks which relate directly to the job description, and that were not already taught to the client.


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