This means that all teachers will be familiar with disability categories instead of specializing in only one or two. Practice teaching is inclusive in practically al degree programs at universities. Degree requirements differ from state to state. Some states require or recommend a masters degree while others have different requirements in educational attainment. There are many states that require teachers of special education to be both generally as well as special educationally certified. Most States require a competency test.
In an article entitled "Vocational rehabilitation in rural America: challenges and opportunities" an examination is made of the issues that are dealt with by vocational rehabilitation service delivery in rural areas of the United States the findings show that, substantial portion of the United States population resides in nonmetropolitan areas totaling nearly 56 million individuals that live in rural areas of the country and that of those 56 million there are an estimated 15 million individuals with disabilities within that area. (William T. Grand Foundation, 1988 as cited by Rojewski, 1992)
Further stated is the fact that "Demographic projections have also shown that disability rates are proportionately higher in rural areas than in metropolitan settings." Further complicating the matter is the fact that, "People living in rural areas tend to be more economically, educationally and vocationally disadvantaged than their urban counterparts (Lam, Chan Parker, & Carter, 1987) as well as the fact that the highest rates of poverty in America are found in the rural areas. The approach used in vocational rehabilitation in rural areas differs greatly from the approaches used in urban and metropolitan areas. (Page, Bornhoeft, Barcome, & Knowlton, 1985) There are three differences between urban and rural vocational rehabilitation, which, are as follows:
The client of vocational rehabilitation in the rural area has fewer option of employment due to lack of business and industries in the area that results in limited availability of jobs for which the individual is qualified.
The geographic distance hinders the disabled individual due to lack of public transportation and other geographic factors expressed in limitations.
The rural vocational rehabilitation worker must have the ability to perform various duties of rehabilitation instead of the specialization that is the norm in urban areas.
Service delivery in rural areas may be in non-traditional methods requiring innovation in approaches of the delivery of service. (Leland & Schneider, 1982) Interagency service coordination has the ability to enhance service delivery for those living in rural areas. (Jansen, 1988; Rojewski, 1990). Multiagency staffing has also been suggested as an approach in delivery of service in rural areas.
Research and examination of this issue has resulted in findings that the most harm or damage may be inflicted upon the vocational rehabilitation counselor who is least experiential in dealing with disabilities. That fact is expressed as follows:
Disability myths are based upon prejudicial attitudes and inaccurate beliefs about people with disabilities. Such myths arise from cultural and psychological "learning" that prescribes the way one reacts to persons who have disabilities. Rehabilitation counselors, by virtue of their training, experience, and understanding, are among those professionals who are expected to have more realistic attitudes and beliefs toward disability. However, because rehabilitation counselors are part of the culture in which they live, many possess mythical attitudes that can be damaging to the person with a disability who is working toward vocational rehabilitation. This article explores some of the ways in which disability myths, when held by the rehabilitation counselor, may become institutionalized within the agency framework of vocational rehabilitation (VR) and how those myths may jeopardize services and case outcomes."
Stated further is the following:
Rehabilitation counselors live in the same culture as the general population and are no more immune to disability myths than others (DeLoach and Greer, 1981 as cited by Karst, 1990) and;
Because much of what culture teaches is unconscious, each person may perceive his or her own behavior as normal, and peculiar behavior in others as irresponsible or psychopathic. (Hall, 1976 as cited by Karst, 1990)
Stated in the article is that Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors must monitor their own logic and way of thinking to:
Protect themselves from the negative influence of disability myths in several ways and can thereby improve the overall quality of the VR service delivery system. They can learn to monitor their own attitudes and behaviors as a way of fulfilling their ethical and professional responsibilities. Self-monitoring begins with counselors acknowledging the fact that their attitudes stem not only from professional study and work experiences, but also from the culture in which they live. Counselors can be aware that their attitudes come from a variety of sources (Schnieder and Anderson, 1980), some good and some not so good. They can learn to protect themselves and their clients from situations in which myths could play a role in rehabilitation outcomes."
Therefore, it is not the least trained or educated, nor is it the individual with the lower grades in school, nor the individual who has the least personable interaction but indeed it is the individual who is less experienced and less knowledgeable in the realm of disability that has the opportunity to cause the most harm and inflict the most damage on the disabled individual in treatment rendering negative outcomes for that individual.
In a study geared toward the identification of 'excellence' in vocational rehabilitation programs it was found that:
While we anticipated that the top facilities would do well on various measures of excellence, we were not prepared when the data showed that the highest ranked one-fourth of employability development programs helped 50% of persons served get back to work while the lowest one-fourth succeeded with only 16%. Significantly, we found that facilities which helped participants to achieve exemplary benefits also tended to be low in cost. Programs with "enriched services," higher ratios of staff to participants, and higher costs do not necessarily achieve more benefits for clients than less expensive programs. On the other hand, we were pleased to learn that excellence is not limited to large, experienced, urban-based programs. In fact, new and emerging programs in small communities often out-performed their larger and more well- known colleagues. (Prazak, 1990)
Clearly it is not just the education and training that guarantees excellent service in Vocational Rehabilitation institutions, nor is it just the hands-on experience, but indeed vital to provision of excellent service is the individual level of dedication, potential of innovation as well as other factors which determine successful outcomes in the Vocational Rehabilitation of disabled individuals. Education cannot assure dedication or a positive attitude, that has the ability to empower the disabled individual to push toward their goal. While it is has been clearly shown that specialized training is optimal for the Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor that specialized training/education will be all for naught without the dedication and drive to assist the disabled clients in achieving their goals.
Green, Kathleen (1993) Careers In Special Education (12221993) Occupational Outlook Quarterly 1993 Dec 22 Online at Highbeam Research
Rojewski, Jay (1992) Vocational rehabilitation in rural America: challenges and opportunities. (Rural Rehabilitation) American Rehabilitation; 3/22/1992. Online at: Highbeam Research Library.
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Jansen, D.G. (1988). The role of vocational education in rural America. Columbus: The Ohio State University, Center on Education and Training for Employment.
Prazak, Gary (1990) An agenda for excellence: the search for exemplary vocational rehabilitation services. (editorial) The Journal of Rehabilitation; 1/1/1990.
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DeLoach, C. And Greer, B.G. (1981). Adjustment to severe physical disability: A metamorphosis. New York:
Schneider, C.R. And Anderson, W. (1980). Attitudes toward the stigmatized: Some insights from recent research. Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 23, 299-313.
Rojewski, J. (1992). Vocational rehabilitation in rural America: Challenges and opportunities. American Rehabilitation, 18(1), 39-44.
Leland, M., & Schneider, M.J. (1982). Rural rehabilitation: A state of the art. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas, Arkansas Rehabilitation Research and Training Center, (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 233-838).
Issues in vocational education for special populations in rural America. TASPP Brief, 12(2). Berkeley: University of California, National Center for Research in Vocational Education, Technical Assistance…