Person-centered planning: a gateway to improving vocational rehabilitation services for culturally diverse individuals with disabilities. (Person Centered Planning)."For persons with disabilities, the journey to full community participation has been a long one that can be described as a work in progress. The movement away from the perspective of care and protection to expectation and involvement of persons with disabilities in planning for their future is reflected in the growing use of person-centered planning strategies." (Kiernan, 1996, p. 387)
The person-centered planning approach has increasingly become popular in the rehabilitation rehabilitation: see physical therapy. arena, particularly for with individuals with disabilities of diverse cultural, ethnic, and linguistic backgrounds. For more than 25 years, the Years, The
the seven decades of Eleanor Pargiter’s life. [Br. Lit.: Benét, 1109]
See : Time vocational rehabilitation Noun 1. vocational rehabilitation - providing training in a specific trade with the aim of gaining employment
rehabilitation - the restoration of someone to a useful place in society (VR) service system in the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. has offered a variety of employment services and supports, including on-the-job training, supported employment, adjustment counseling, independent living skills development, job exploration, and placement services for individuals with disabilities. Rehabilitative re·ha·bil·i·tate
tr.v. re·ha·bil·i·tat·ed, re·ha·bil·i·tat·ing, re·ha·bil·i·tates
1. To restore to good health or useful life, as through therapy and education.
2. services are made available through major program initiatives and laws such as Section 21 of the 1998 Amendments to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (1) and the American Disabilities Act. However, despite the availability of rehabilitation services, several studies have consistently indicated that ethnically and culturally diverse individuals with disabilities underutilize available vocational rehabilitation services, compared to their Caucasian mainstream counterparts (Middleton, Flowers, & Sawaiz, 1996; National Council on Disability, 1999).
Although employment outcomes are generally low among adults with disabilities, the rate of labor participation among those from diverse ethnic and cultural groups is far worse (Brett, 2000; Walker, Turner, Michael, Vincent, & Miles 1995). For example, as a group, these individuals are frequently underemployed un·der·em·ployed
1. Employed only part-time when one needs and desires full-time employment.
2. Inadequately employed, especially employed at a low-paying job that requires less skill or training than one possesses. , unemployed, or placed in segregated work programs or day activity centers (Dziekan & Okocha, 1993; President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities, 1995). Among the general population, the labor force participation rate for individuals with disabilities is disappointingly low, from 28% to 31%, compared to a rate of 79% among those without disabilities (National Organization on Disability, 1999). However, among culturally diverse populations, the numbers are even worse, ranging from a dismal dis·mal
1. Causing gloom or depression; dreary: dismal weather; took a dismal view of the economy.
2. 21.2% to 23.2% for Latinos, with just 5% participating in the year-round full-time work, and 17.8% to 22% for Blacks, with only 8.6% engaged in year round full-time work.
Several factors contribute to the sizable siz·a·ble also size·a·ble
Of considerable size; fairly large.
siza·ble·ness n. disparity dis·par·i·ty
n. pl. dis·par·i·ties
1. The condition or fact of being unequal, as in age, rank, or degree; difference: "narrow the economic disparities among regions and industries" in employment between non-White and White adults with disabilities. Increasingly, researchers have found evidence that disabilities are disproportionately dis·pro·por·tion·ate
Out of proportion, as in size, shape, or amount.
dispro·por concentrated in vulnerable populations. Vulnerable populations include those living in single-parent homes, those who lack access to service interventions, and those who are exposed to lifestyles challenged by financial difficulties, lack of resources, or limited English speaking skills (Hasnain, 2001).
In addition to these barriers, drawbacks of the service system itself can impede im·pede
tr.v. im·ped·ed, im·ped·ing, im·pedes
To retard or obstruct the progress of. See Synonyms at hinder1.
[Latin imped positive employment and vocational outcomes for adults with disabilities from diverse backgrounds. For example, a lack of outreach Outreach is an effort by an organization or group to connect its ideas or practices to the efforts of other organizations, groups, specific audiences or the general public. efforts and an inadequate number of trained professionals from culturally diverse backgrounds can contribute to the availability of resources for members of culturally diverse groups (Hasnain, 2001). Even when such individuals do receive rehabilitation services, they may be disappointed because agency personnel are not only uninformed about the individual's or family's cultural patterns, but also may be unresponsive unresponsive Neurology adjective Referring to a total lack of response to neurologic stimuli to the individual's and family's unique stressors. Such difficulties, arising in part from language and cultural barriers, is primarily due to the shortage of bilingual bi·lin·gual
a. Using or able to use two languages, especially with equal or nearly equal fluency.
b. staff in the field of special education and rehabilitation (Walker et al., 1995)
In response to this situation, increased attention has focused on cross-cultural perspectives and the inclusion of individuals with disabilities and their families within all aspects of the vocational rehabilitation system, with the ultimate goal being full community participation. Given the rapidly changing demographics The attributes of people in a particular geographic area. Used for marketing purposes, population, ethnic origins, religion, spoken language, income and age range are examples of demographic data. in the United States, this growing emphasis on diversity complements the principles of person-centered planning, a process which embraces the cultural differences and unique dynamics among individuals and their families. Unlike traditional models of service delivery, the person-centered planning approach actually emphasizes the positive aspects of cultural variations. Although the vocational rehabilitation system has traditionally focused on a person-driven approach, rehabilitation service providers and policy planners are now beginning to appreciate the value of including family members, friends, and community members in the rehabilitative process (Freedman freed·man
A man who has been freed from slavery.
pl -men History a man freed from slavery
Noun 1. & Fesko, 1996).
In keeping with these initiatives, the person-centered planning approach is a responsive and proactive strategy to reach and serve ethnically, linguistically, and culturally diverse populations. This article highlights the impact of the person-centered career planning process for culturally diverse individuals who participated in the Statewide Supported Employment System Change Project (now referred to as the Statewide Employment Services Department) across a three-year period.
Changing Demographics and Service Delivery: Cultural Issues
Compared to the majority of their peers, ethnically and culturally diverse consumers typically receive fewer vocational rehabilitation services or are denied such services altogether. As a result, such individuals are closed out of vocational rehabilitation services at a disproportionately higher rate without ever being rehabilitated (Flowers & Edwards, 1996). Many factors may account for why culturally diverse populations typically have less access to, and receive fewer, disability-related services (Staten, 1998). These factors include language, cultural, and social class differences, lack of awareness or information about service options, and system and service inadequacies (e.g., lack of bilingual service providers and culturally insensitive in·sen·si·tive
1. Not physically sensitive; numb.
a. Lacking in sensitivity to the feelings or circumstances of others; unfeeling.
b. assessment procedures). As a consequence of these and other barriers, culturally diverse individuals with disabilities are often denied meaningful opportunities in work, postsecondary education/training, and community life (Katsiyannis, Defur & Conderman, 1996).
Although American society is highly diverse, it still holds identifiable norms and values that are primarily mainstream and middle-class in nature. As just one example, the notion of independence, a concept deeply rooted in Western societies, may not be valued by people from other cultures (Thompson, 1997; Trevino & Szymanski, 1996). Such norms and values, having shaped the U.S. vocational service system for people with disabilities and, intentionally in·ten·tion·al
1. Done deliberately; intended: an intentional slight. See Synonyms at voluntary.
2. Having to do with intention. or not, promoted values that often differ from those in other resident cultures. This is an important social issue because culturally diverse communities with differing values can be found throughout this country. Thus, many concepts taken for granted Adj. 1. taken for granted - evident without proof or argument; "an axiomatic truth"; "we hold these truths to be self-evident"
obvious - easily perceived by the senses or grasped by the mind; "obvious errors" in the U.S. vocational service system--including self-determination, independent living and self-advocacy--may be isolating i·so·late
tr.v. i·so·lat·ed, i·so·lat·ing, i·so·lates
1. To set apart or cut off from others.
2. To place in quarantine.
3. for culturally diverse people with disabilities and their families if certain terms and assumptions are not appropriately identified and translated.
One of the most important examples of how American cultural assumptions can directly conflict with those of other cultures is the view that individuals with a disability should be independent of family support. In contrast, many ethnically diverse cultures view such individuals as having a "reflection upon and being the responsibility of the entire family" (National Council on Disability, 1999). For this reason, the culture of the individual and his or her family must be understood on their terms, rather than based on a standard set by the dominant culture. Because of these factors, person-centered planning--which focuses on the needs and values of the individual--can increase the likelihood that a person with a disability will achieve positive results. Facilitators who use a person-centered planning approach can incorporate cultural beliefs and traditions, such as family interdependence in·ter·de·pen·dent
Mutually dependent: "Today, the mission of one institution can be accomplished only by recognizing that it lives in an interdependent world with conflicts and overlapping interests" and respect of the roles parents and elders play, in the decision-making process and future planning.
Cultural Interpretations and Outcomes
Although not the primary focus of this article, it is also important to consider cultural beliefs and values when assessing the meaningfulness of specific types of work for individuals with disabilities from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds. For example, Trevino and Szymanski (1996) reported that migrant mi·grant
1. One that moves from one region to another by chance, instinct, or plan.
2. An itinerant worker who travels from one area to another in search of work.
Migratory. work is particularly popular among Latinos, and thus may be a more suitable job match for some Latino job seekers job seeker also job·seek·er
One who seeks employment. with disabilities. In addition to cultural differences, social class and gender are important factors that may influence employment-based outcomes. For example, one facilitator was told by a Pakistani mother that she never had hopes that her 18-year-old daughter with mental retardation mental retardation, below average level of intellectual functioning, usually defined by an IQ of below 70 to 75, combined with limitations in the skills necessary for daily living. would work competitively outside the family home because, in her view, a more positive outcome would be for her daughter remained at home to perform the household duties expected of her.
Such findings suggest that some culturally diverse families may be less inclined to consider employment or certain types of jobs as an option for their adult member with a disability. In other words Adv. 1. in other words - otherwise stated; "in other words, we are broke"
put differently , among some cultures, certain caregiver care·giv·er
1. An individual, such as a physician, nurse, or social worker, who assists in the identification, prevention, or treatment of an illness or disability.
2. responsibilities (e.g., being a homemaker) assigned as·sign
tr.v. as·signed, as·sign·ing, as·signs
1. To set apart for a particular purpose; designate: assigned a day for the inspection.
2. to a person with or without a disability may themselves be considered by the individual and family to be a positive outcome. Thus, family and cultural expectations can make it difficult to determine what constitutes a positive employment outcome for a person with a disability. (Hasnain, 2001). The person-centered planning approach, however, can aid planners and facilitators in understanding how these intervening factors vary within and across cultures.
The Statewide Supported Employment Systems Change Project
Based on these issues, a statewide outreach and service delivery initiative was undertaken to determine how culturally diverse individuals obtain access to and use of the "mainstream" vocational rehabilitation system and other related services. Here "access to services" means knowing where vocational services are provided and how to get them. To address the service gap, the Statewide Employment Services Department (formerly known as the Office of Employment Services) of the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission, working with the Institute for Community Inclusion and other agencies, initiated culturally-sensitive activities in a three-year federally-funded demonstration grant (the "Statewide Supported Employment System's Change Project) from the U.S. Department of Education, Rehabilitation Services Administration.
During the limited timeframe, project collaborators undertook numerous potentially long-term initiatives to provide equal access to employment services for individuals with disabilities and their families from a variety of cultures, backgrounds, and situations. A primary goal of this project was to implement culturally sensitive and non-traditional service strategies and to ensure that at least 20% of the consumers served by the project were members of culturally, ethnically, and linguistically diverse backgrounds. By the end of the project, this goal had been achieved, with an inclusion rate of 22.8%. The successful steps and strategies used in the project are discussed in this article.
Components of the Systems Change Project
The cultural diversity initiative and person-centered career planning components were critical to the overall success of this project.
The cultural diversity initiative recruited individuals from a variety of communities to serve in a pool of diversity consultants that implemented various project activities. Members of this consultant pool, represented various cultures, languages, and professions, and included people who had disabilities, family members with disabilities, or both. The consultants observed trainings and made recommendations to ensure that project materials and activities were culturally sensitive. As one example, the project description was modified to be jargon-free and more reflective Refers to light hitting an opaque surface such as a printed page or mirror and bouncing back. See reflective media and reflective LCD. of various cultures. In addition, the consultants served as interpreters and translators This is primarily a list of notable Western translators. Please feel free to add translators from other languages, cultures and areas of specialization. Large sublists have been split off to separate articles. , translating project materials into five languages: Spanish, Khmer, Portuguese, Haitian Creole Haitian Creole
A language spoken by the majority of Haitians, based on French and various African languages.
Noun 1. Haitian Creole , and Vietnamese. With this capacity, it was possible to conduct project activities in each person's native language.
Consultants were also trained to conduct a variety of activities, including:
* marketing and outreach activities (e.g. informal presentations to church and community groups about the project and the vocational rehabilitation system as well as public service announcements on ethnic radio and television channels) to inform diverse communities about disability-related services
* person-centered career planning meetings to assist individuals with disabilities in identifying creative employment options and supports in their communities cultural sensitivity and networking trainings for different community and professional groups with project consultants serving as co-trainers. These groups included rehabilitation service providers, local and regional vocational rehabilitation offices, and community-based minority agencies.
The second component, person-centered career planning, served as a vehicle to identify and link individuals with disabilities and their families to vocational rehabilitation services. The elements of this planning process are based on "What Color Is My Parachute parachute, umbrellalike device designed to retard the descent of a falling body by creating drag as it passes through the air. The development of modern aircraft has led to many experiments in the aerodynamic problems of parachute design, with the result that the " (Bolles, 1994), a book that promotes "nontraditional" career identification and job searching strategies, such as networking with family, friends, and business acquaintances to identify possible job leads. This planning tool was not intended to replace traditional system-centered service plans, such as the Individual Education Program (IEP IEP
In currencies, this is the abbreviation for the Irish Punt.
The currency market, also known as the Foreign Exchange market, is the largest financial market in the world, with a daily average volume of over US $1 trillion. ) or the Individual Plan for Employment (IPE IPE - Integrated Programming Environment ) (which was formerly known as the Individualized in·di·vid·u·al·ize
tr.v. in·di·vid·u·al·ized, in·di·vid·u·al·iz·ing, in·di·vid·u·al·iz·es
1. To give individuality to.
2. To consider or treat individually; particularize.
3. Written Rehabilitation Plan (IRWP)), but rather was used to complement these processes. Because of its focus on the cultural and lifestyle needs of the recipients and their families, the outcome of the person-centered planning program often resulted in meaningful career options for the individual with a disability.
By integrating these two components with the help of the diversity consultants, it was possible to provide an array of culturally sensitive vocational services, such as career awareness and development, ongoing job support, interpreter A high-level programming language translator that translates and runs the program at the same time. It translates one program statement into machine language, executes it, and then proceeds to the next statement. services, and translation of materials and reports for project participants. Chart 1 provides a listing and summary of specific steps used for the person-centered career planning meetings.
(1) Section 21 under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 focuses on improving services for and with individuals from traditionally underserved groups, and provides outreach training, and technical assistance to enhance the participation of individuals from multicultural mul·ti·cul·tur·al
1. Of, relating to, or including several cultures.
2. Of or relating to a social or educational theory that encourages interest in many cultures within a society rather than in only a mainstream culture. communities and Indian tribes INDIAN TRIBE. A separate and distinct community or body of the aboriginal Indian race of men found in the United States.
2. Such a tribe, situated within the boundaries of a state, and exercising the powers of government and, sovereignty, under the national in activities that lead to a full and productive community life.
The program participants included people with disabilities who represented a variety of different backgrounds, experiences, and situations. The project staff defined the term "disability" broadly and included individuals with physical, cognitive, and sensory sensory /sen·so·ry/ (sen´sor-e) pertaining to sensation.
1. Of or relating to the senses or sensation.
2. disabilities (e.g., deafness or blindness) as well as those with psychological disabilities, emotional disabilities (e.g., post-traumatic stress disorder post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), mental disorder that follows an occurrence of extreme psychological stress, such as that encountered in war or resulting from violence, childhood abuse, sexual abuse, or serious accident. ), or both. The project also included unserved and underrepresented un·der·rep·re·sent·ed
Insufficiently or inadequately represented: the underrepresented minority groups, ignored by the government. groups, such as people with HIV/AIDS HIV/AIDS Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome , individuals who were homeless, or people who had experienced domestic or gang violence that resulted in a disability.
Project staff primarily worked with the following different ethnic, cultural, and linguistic groups: African American African American Multiculture A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa. See Race. , Haitian, Puerto Rican Puer·to Ri·co
Abbr. PR or P.R.
A self-governing island commonwealth of the United States in the Caribbean Sea east of Hispaniola. , Cambodian, Chinese, Burmese, Pakistani, and Portuguese. The ages of the participants ranged from those in high school to those who were retired. The project served a wide range of geographic regions in Massachusetts, including Lowell, New Bedford New Bedford, city (1990 pop. 99,922), seat of Bristol co., SE Mass., at the mouth of the Acushnet River on Buzzard's Bay; settled 1640, set off from Dartmouth 1787, inc. as a city 1847. and Fall River, all areas that are densely populated pop·u·late
tr.v. pop·u·lat·ed, pop·u·lat·ing, pop·u·lates
1. To supply with inhabitants, as by colonization; people.
2. by immigrants and refugees Individuals who leave their native country for social, political, or religious reasons, or who are forced to leave as a result of any type of disaster, including war, political upheaval, and famine. (e.g. Cambodians, Portuguese, Latinos, etc.).
As previously mentioned, the number of culturally diverse individuals with disabilities served by this project increased each period as shown in Table 1. During period one, 14% of the total participants were individuals with disabilities from diverse cultures; in periods two and three, this participation rate increased to 20% and 22.8%, respectively.
Introducing Person-Centered Planning to Culturally Diverse Populations
During the initial stages of the project, direct mailings were sent to various organizations, such as multicultural agencies, ethnic support groups, mutual assistance associations, disability advocacy agencies, advocates for refugees and immigrants, and employment and job training programs that serve multicultural communities. After the mailings, project staff made personal visits and gave presentations to these various groups.
Many other outreach strategies were used, including:
* meeting with trusted community leaders (e.g. clergy, elders, teachers), who often had close ties to the majority of people residing in these areas, to request their assistance in marketing the project
* having project staff often participate in special cultural events, celebrations, and festivals to meet people and share project information
* posting information flyers about project services were posted in various community settings such as ethnic groceries gro·cer·y
n. pl. gro·cer·ies
1. A store selling foodstuffs and various household supplies.
2. groceries Commodities sold by a grocer. , laundromats, and beauty salons
* placing service information in disability and minority newspapers, ethnic cable channels and passing along the information by word-of-mouth
Chart 2 describes the different outreach strategies the project staff used to link ethnically, culturally and linguistically diverse individuals with disabilities to employment-based services and supports.
A Key Challenge: Cultural Perceptions of Person-Centered Career Planning
Although outreach strategies were conducted to interest individuals with disabilities and their families from culturally, ethnically, and linguistically diverse backgrounds, the project faced some initial difficulties in engaging individuals from these diverse populations. By far, the greatest challenge was explaining the concept and benefits of the person-centered planning process to these individuals. Not only was it difficult to translate the service delivery terminology and jargon jargon, pejorative term applied to speech or writing that is considered meaningless, unintelligible, or ugly. In one sense the term is applied to the special language of a profession, which may be unnecessarily complicated, e.g., "medical jargon. , but the concepts themselves often had little meaning to people of different cultures. For example, terms such as "person-centered planning," "transferable skills," and "supported employment" were unfamiliar and often confusing con·fuse
v. con·fused, con·fus·ing, con·fus·es
a. To cause to be unable to think with clarity or act with intelligence or understanding; throw off.
b. to people of different cultural backgrounds.
This reaction is understandable, particularly for people who come from Korea, Laos, Vietnam and other countries where there are no or few vocational rehabilitation programs Noun 1. vocational rehabilitation program - a program of rehabilitation through job training with an eye to gainful employment
rehabilitation program - a program for restoring someone to good health and services for people with disabilities. Therefore, consumers and families often needed to hear the program and its strategies described with real-life examples before they would decide to become involved. Overall, compared with the time spend with individuals from the American culture, project staff spent substantially more time with individuals from culturally diverse backgrounds, illustrating how the process could help them achieve career goals and other employment benefits.
Positive Outcomes from the Person-Centered Career Planning Process
As a result of the strategies described and used in this project, many individuals were able to participate and benefit from the person-centered approach to career planning. The following profiles illustrate some of these positive outcomes:
Consumer Profile #1
T.L., an 18-year-old male in his junior year at a high school, has a cognitive and a physical disability. T.L. has been in special education for ten years, ever since his family moved to the United States from Cambodia. As T.L. prepared for his Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and the statement of Needed Transition Services, his teacher wondered about his future. Because T.L.'s father does not speak English and has never participated in any school meetings, his teacher was unaware of any plans the family had for T.L.'s future. When the teacher asked how he envisioned his life like as an adult, T.L. just shrugged his shoulders. As a result, his teacher described and recommended to T.L. a person-centered planning process to assist him in developing a vision for his adult life. T.L. seemed interested, and asked his father to participate in the planning meeting. We assigned a facilitator, and had a project staff member, T.L's teacher, and the director of the local Cambodian community center meet to discuss traditional Southeast Asian cultural beliefs and values and how the person-centered process could be culturally modified to meet the needs of T.L. and his family.
The first planning meeting was held in the home of T. L.'s uncle, and T.L., his father, his uncle, teacher, vocational instructor, and interpreter were all invited to attend. During the meeting, the facilitator was careful to begin by addressing T.L.'s father, thereby ensuring cultural sensitivity to their patriarchal pa·tri·ar·chal
1. Of, relating to, or characteristic of a patriarch.
2. Of or relating to a patriarchy: a patriarchal social system.
3. family system. The facilitator also included T.L. in the process by validating val·i·date
tr.v. val·i·dat·ed, val·i·dat·ing, val·i·dates
1. To declare or make legally valid.
2. To mark with an indication of official sanction.
3. all questions and responses with him before proceeding. This tactic is different than the format recommended in the traditional American setting, which emphasizes initially consulting with, and empowering, the individual. However, if this modification was not made for T. L.'s family, the facilitator may have inadvertently caused dominant family members to withdraw their support from the entire process and endanger en·dan·ger
tr.v. en·dan·gered, en·dan·ger·ing, en·dan·gers
1. To expose to harm or danger; imperil.
2. To threaten with extinction. the potential benefits for T. L. The facilitator also ensured that participants in the meeting refrained from using human service jargon and disability terms.
At the beginning of the meeting, T.L.'s lather indicated that T.L. was not capable of working or living independently. He explained that T.L. would stay at home so his family could take care of him. During the meeting T.L.'s strengths and abilities were identified, as well as the areas in which he required instruction or additional support. During the discussions, the facilitator made certain to point out the role that adaptive products (e.g., picture cues, audio tapes, a talking watch, rolling scissors scissors
Cutting instrument or tool consisting of a pair of opposed metal blades that meet and cut when the handles at their ends are brought together. Modern scissors are of two types: the more usual pivoted blades have a rivet or screw connection between the cutting ends ) could play in helping T.L. to function more independently at school, home, work, and during leisure. To make the idea of adaptive products less threatening and culturally compatible, the facilitator never used the term "adaptive" but focused on the product's generic name generic name
1. The official nonproprietary name of a drug, under which it is licensed and identified by the manufacturer.
2. and function. The facilitator did not focus on the young man's independent use of these products, but instead explained how these items would benefit the family. The facilitator also brought some sample products for T.L. and his father to try. At the end of the meeting, T.L.'s father indicated that he was very surprised to learn about the different skills his son possessed and the potential his son had for the future. He also indicated that he would attend T.L.'s upcoming IEP/Transition meeting.
Consumer #2 Profile
B.A., a 21- year-old female living with her single mother, moved to the southeastern region of Massachusetts from Puerto Rico Puerto Rico (pwār`tō rē`kō), island (2005 est. pop. 3,917,000), 3,508 sq mi (9,086 sq km), West Indies, c.1,000 mi (1,610 km) SE of Miami, Fla. three years ago. B.A. has cerebral palsy cerebral palsy (sərē`brəl pôl`zē), disability caused by brain damage before or during birth or in the first years, resulting in a loss of voluntary muscular control and coordination. and is bilingual, but prefers speaking in Spanish, her native language.
The person-centered planning process for B.A. involved seven meetings and several follow-up sessions during a 12-month period. All meetings were held in the evening at B.A.'s home and lasted from 2 to 4 hours. The meetings included B.A.'s mother, aunt, cousin, an English as a Second Language teacher, a Spanish interpreter, and friends of the family. The initial meeting with B.A. and her mother was arranged through an English as a Second Language teacher who served as the family's advocate. The meetings were conducted both in English and in Spanish.
During the initial meeting, it was clear that B.A. and her mother were dealing with some difficult matters with the school. During the first meeting, we discovered that B.A. had not yet graduated from her high school. Yet, despite waiting so long before initiating the transition from school to adulthood, B.A. and her mother already experienced feelings of abandonment and stress. Although the school was responsible for informing B.A. and her mother about the termination of special education services after graduation Graduation is the action of receiving or conferring an academic degree or the associated ceremony. The date of event is often called degree day. The event itself is also called commencement, convocation or invocation. , they did not receive any information or guidance from the school about future options and opportunities. Under such conditions, B.A. had decided to postpone post·pone
tr.v. post·poned, post·pon·ing, post·pones
1. To delay until a future time; put off. See Synonyms at defer1.
2. To place after in importance; subordinate. her high school graduation for another year. This decision was made with her mother's support in hopes that she would gain access to a post-secondary education or training program or get a job as an administrative assistant or receptionist.
Based on these meetings, we were able to identify some potential career paths and interests for B.A. in the area of accounting and administrative duties. We also were able to connect B.A. to a horseback riding horseback riding: see equestrianism. program in a nearby town where she received recreational therapy recreational therapy Play therapy 'Any free, voluntary and expressive activity…(which may be)…motor, sensory, or mental, vitalized by the expansive play spirit, sustained by deep-rooted pleasurable attitudes and evoked by whole emotional . In addition, we were able to arrange the transition planning meeting for B.A. that should have occurred much earlier at her school. In this transitional planning meeting, agency representatives from the state vocational rehabilitation system and school representatives were brought together to arrange a plan for transitioning B.A. from school to an adult service system. During this time, we presented the results of the planning meeting, which had revealed the B.A.'s interests and preferences for developing her computer and English language English language, member of the West Germanic group of the Germanic subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages (see Germanic languages). Spoken by about 470 million people throughout the world, English is the official language of about 45 nations. skills. These were incorporated into the plan. We also arranged for an interpreter to attend the meeting to translate for B.A. and her mother. In sum, the person-centered process linked B.A. to additional contacts, postsecondary school options and opportunities with a local community college, and some additional vocational rehabilitation services.
Conclusion and Implications
In summary, the person-centered career planning program, enhanced by the cultural diversity component of the project, resulted in a number of positive outcomes. Participants in the career planning process became aware of new employment options and opportunities available to them. Moreover, the results of the project suggest that large numbers of
people with disabilities are experiencing positive gains in employment options as a result of innovative and culturally responsive person-centered practices. One of our greatest on-going challenges is to find ways to better link individuals with disabilities and their families who are members of culturally diverse backgrounds to the vocational rehabilitation system.
The growing diversity in the United States raises an important concern given that a disproportionate dis·pro·por·tion·ate
Out of proportion, as in size, shape, or amount.
dispro·por number of individuals from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds are disabled. Given the importance of this area of study, future program initiatives need to consider ways to improve employment outcomes for culturally, ethnically, and linguistically diverse people with disabilities within the context of culture, ideologies, and the current economy. The culturally responsive strategies of person-centered career planning implemented by this project were one way of addressing this gap.
The following list of recommendations may improve employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities and their families, particularly those from diverse racial ethnic, cultural, and economic backgrounds.
The recommendations are divided into two categories and are based on experiences of the project (Sotnik & Hasnain, 1998; Hasnain, 2001).
* Increase marketing efforts in ethnic communities to identify and address the unmet un·met
Not satisfied or fulfilled: unmet demands. needs of underserved and unserved groups due to the lack of outreach to these populations by disability-related agencies.
* Use non-traditional outreach methods to inform ethnic and underserved communities of vocational rehabilitation service options, such as conducting informal presentations at community events and festivities fes·tiv·i·ty
n. pl. fes·tiv·i·ties
1. A joyous feast, holiday, or celebration; a festival.
2. The pleasure, joy, and gaiety of a festival or celebration.
3. , placing job notices with grassroots entities, and using ethnic cable stations and radio programs.
* Conduct focus groups to identify the authentic employment and vocational needs of racial and ethnic individuals with disabilities and to incorporate them into future programs.
Service Delivery Efforts
* Improve service delivery efforts by assessing the impact of service interventions and follow-up outcome statuses for individuals with disabilities.
* Develop programs that, in making outcomes comparisons, reflect cultural values and differences rather than mainstream Western standards and norms.
* Document successful examples of employment and vocational outcomes through the use of real-life case examples.
* Improve communication between ethnic communities and vocational rehabilitation providers by working with indigenous community and faith based organizations and state institutions and systems to inform the community of employment and vocational options.
Steps to Person-Centered Planning
* Conducted as a friendly, informal and positive brainstorming session
* Held in comfortable location (e.g. in somebody's home, a favorite restaurant)
* Included significant others (e.g. family, friends, colleagues)
* Focused on creativity and non-disability focus
* Wrote on flipcharts so everyone can see input (everybody's contributions are equally important but the focal person has the control)
I. Background Information on a Person's Strengths, Experiences, and Interests in three broad areas: leisure, learning, labor
II. Person's Preferences, Assets, and Transferable Skills in three work-related categories: people, things and information
III. Working Conditions is a step that generates a list of favorable fa·vor·a·ble
1. Advantageous; helpful: favorable winds.
2. Encouraging; propitious: a favorable diagnosis.
3. and unfavorable work conditions such as schedule, geographic location, environmental factors, person and technology supports, transportation needs, health coverage and the work culture.
IV Work Rewards is a listing of factors that motivate a person to work such as getting a paycheck, insurances, social contacts, respect, challenge and the responsibilities of your job.
V. Potential Job Outcomes is a step that looks at information gathered from step #1-#4 to generate a list of career paths which match a person's skills and interests. Questions such as "What is your dream job? What is your preferred chose of work environments, supports, and conditions?
VI. People Contacts Who Do We Know? Brainstorming within the group to identify contact people who can help with job leads in areas of interests VII. Possible Strategies is a step that generates a list of creative ways of helping a person get a job (as identified in step 5). Strategies may include: visits to job sites, talking to Noun 1. talking to - a lengthy rebuke; "a good lecture was my father's idea of discipline"; "the teacher gave him a talking to"
rebuke, reprehension, reprimand, reproof, reproval - an act or expression of criticism and censure; "he had to someone in the profession, taking a course, developing a resume, or volunteering, among others. The person's work needs are identified in this step (e.g., job supports, assistive technology Hardware and software that help people who are physically impaired. Often called "accessibility options" when referring to enhancements for using the computer, the entire field of assistive technology is quite vast and even includes ramp and doorway construction in buildings to support , and assistance in one's home)
VIII. Action Plans integrate the above six steps into a final plan, consisting of specific objectives, responsible person(s), and timelines. Each participant usually shares responsibility in helping the person achieve his/her work goals. Usually the group schedules a follow-up meeting at this time to review progress towards the ultimate goal of finding a job.
After the meeting, the facilitator writes a report based on this person's planning session.
Outreach Strategies for Working with Consumers and Families from Culturally Diverse Backgrounds
--provide examples/stories to explain abstract concepts
--take services to the community
--work with community-based organizations and identify a contact person as a collaborator
--identify a gatekeeper In an H.323 IP telephony or video environment, a gatekeeper is a device that manages domains and provides call control. It is used to translate user names into IP addresses, to authenticate users and to manage network resources. ( a representative of the community)
--consult with consumers and their communities
--avoid pushing American values of individualism individualism
Political and social philosophy that emphasizes individual freedom. Modern individualism emerged in Britain with the ideas of Adam Smith and Jeremy Bentham, and the concept was described by Alexis de Tocqueville as fundamental to the American temper. into practice
--encourage community ownership
--avoid service acronyms and jargon
Family and Cultural Influences
--spend extra time getting to know the family
--note family dynamics
--include extended family members and kin relationships
--address both the needs of individual and family
--be prepared to spend time with the family after the meeting
--accept refreshments re·fresh·ment
1. The act of refreshing or the state of being refreshed.
2. Something, such as food or drink, that refreshes.
3. refreshments A snack or light meal and drinks. or insistent in·sis·tent
1. Firm in asserting a demand or an opinion; unyielding.
2. Demanding attention or a response: insistent hunger.
3. dinner invitations
--be sincere, patient, and take the time to listen
--avoid ethnic stereotyping
--build relationships and trust
--avoid rushing or giving that impression because it can lead to distancing
--respond in a nonjudgmental non·judg·men·tal
Refraining from judgment, especially one based on personal ethical standards.
Adj. 1. nonjudgmental way
--give people time to respond to questions
--provide language and other related accommodations
--avoid the use of jargon and service delivery terminology
--note non-verbal communication cues and gestures
--make regular phone calls and meetings
--use cultural informants to assist in working with their communities
--use the media to inform the community (via ethnic newspapers, ethnic cable and radio stations)
--work with existing entities where people gather (e.g., community centers, religious affiliations, public library)
--use a community liaison to gather information and to generate possible referrals
--use network of consumers/parents to educate and inform other families about person-centered planning
Table 1 Total Number of Consumers Served by the Project Period 1 Period 2 Period 3 (October 1, 1994 to (October 1, 1995 to (October 1, 1996 to September 30, 1995) September 30, 1996) December 15, 1997 Caucasian=66 Caucasian=36 Caucasian=91 Black=6 Black=4 Black=13 Hispanic=2 Hispanic=1 Hispanic=4 Asian=3 Asian=1 Asian=3 Other=3 non-Caucasian Other=6 non-Caucasian Total=11 culturally Total=9 culturally Total=26 culturally diverse diverse diverse Total=77 or 14% Total=45 or 20% Total=114 or 22.8% Total Number of Consumers Served by the Project (n=328; 63 of which are of unknown ethnic racial backgrounds)
Bolles, R.N. (1994). What color is your parachute? A practical manual for job hunters and career-changers. Ten Speed Press.
Brett, J. T. (2000). Working for people with disabilities. Connection, 25-27.
Dziekan, K. I. & Okocha, A.G. (1993). Accessibility of rehabilitation services: Comparison by racial-ethnic status. Rehabilitation Counseling rehabilitation counseling,
n counseling started in the United States in 1920 to assist individuals disabled by industrial accidents; originally included physical, psychologic, and occupational training; expanded over the next 70 years and laid the Bulletin, 36, (4), 183-189.
Flowers, C. R. & Edwards, D. (1996). Rehabilitation cultural diversity initiative: A regional survey of cultural diversity within CILs. Journal of Rehabilitation, 62, (3), 22-27.
Freedman, R. I. & Fesko, S. L. (1996) The meaning of work in the lives of people with significant disabilities: consumer and family perspectives. Journal of Rehabilitation. Journal of Rehabilitation, 62, (3), 49-55.
Hasnain, R. (2001). Entering adulthood with a disability: Individual, family, and cultural challenges. Unpublished doctoral dissertation dis·ser·ta·tion
A lengthy, formal treatise, especially one written by a candidate for the doctoral degree at a university; a thesis.
1. , Boston University Boston University, at Boston, Mass.; coeducational; founded 1839, chartered 1869, first baccalaureate granted 1871. It is composed of 16 schools and colleges. , Boston.
Katsiyannis, A., Defur, S. & Conderman, G. (1996). Transition services--systems change for youth with disabilities. Journal of Special Education, 32, (1), 55-61.
Kiernan, K. E. (1996). Perspectives: Presidential address 1996--Are we there yet? Mental Retardation, (34), 6, 387-394.
Middleton, R.A., Flowers, C. & Sawaiz, J. (1996). Multiculturalism multiculturalism or cultural pluralism, a term describing the coexistence of many cultures in a locality, without any one culture dominating the region. , affirmative action affirmative action, in the United States, programs to overcome the effects of past societal discrimination by allocating jobs and resources to members of specific groups, such as minorities and women. and Section 21 of the 1992 Rehabilitation Act Amendments. Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 40, (1), 11-29.
National Council on Disability (1999). Lift every voice: Modernizing disability policies and programs to serve a diverse nation. [On-Line serial]: http://www.ncd.gov/newsroom/publications/lift_report.html.
President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities (1995). Disability and Diversity: New Leadership for a New Era. Howard University Howard University, at Washington, D.C.; coeducational; with federal support. It was founded in 1867 by Gen. Oliver O. Howard of the Freedmen's Bureau, to provide education for newly emancipated slaves. A normal and preparatory department was opened the same year. Research and Training Center.
Smart, S. F. & Smart, D. W. (1997). The racial and ethnic demography demography (dĭmŏg`rəfē), science of human population. Demography represents a fundamental approach to the understanding of human society. of disability. Journal of Rehabilitation, 64, 9-15.
Sotnik, P. & Hasnain, R. (1998). Outreach and service delivery to the southeast Asian populations in the United States. In T.S. Smith (Ed.), Rural rehabilitation (pp.228-259). Arnaudille: Bow River Bow River
River, Alberta, Canada. Rising in Banff National Park on the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains, it flows 315 mi (507 km) southeast through the park and east past Calgary to unite with the Oldman River and form the Saskatchewan River. Publishing.
Staten, D. (1998). A state-specific examination of ethnic minorities with disabilities acceptance rates, service delivery and the rehabilitation outcomes within Iowa division of vocational rehabilitation services: (Unpublished Dissertation.) University of Iowa Not to be confused with Iowa State University.
The first faculty offered instruction at the University in March 1855 to students in the Old Mechanics Building, situated where Seashore Hall is now. In September 1855, the student body numbered 124, of which, 41 were women. : Graduate College of Education.
Thompson, V.C. (1997). Independent and interdependent in·ter·de·pen·dent
Mutually dependent: "Today, the mission of one institution can be accomplished only by recognizing that it lives in an interdependent world with conflicts and overlapping interests" views of self: Implications for culturally sensitive vocational rehabilitation services, October-December, 16-20.
Trevino, B. & Szymanski, E.M. (1996). A qualitative study of the career development of Hispanics with disabilities. Journal of Rehabilitation, 62, (3), 5-13.
Walker, S., Turner, K.A., Michael, M.H., Vincent, A. & Miles, M.D. (1995). Disability and diversity: New leadership for a new era. Washington D.C. Howard University Research and Training Center for Access to Rehabilitation and Economic Opportunity.
Rooshey Hasnain, Ed.D., Institute for Community Inclusion, University Center for Excellence, University of Massachusetts-Boston, 100 Morrissey Boulevard, Boston, MA 02125, Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
University of Massachusetts The system includes UMass Amherst, UMass Boston, UMass Dartmouth (affiliated with Cape Cod Community College), UMass Lowell, and the UMass Medical School. It also has an online school called UMassOnline.
Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission