A woman with shoulder-length brown hair, wearing dark-framed rectangular glasses and a dark blue top and black jacket sits in an open plan room with rough brick walls, couches and small bar tables. She signs in American Sign Language.
What Can VR Do for You?
Elise Knopf, VR Counselor
We have a lot of success stories.
We really have supported people from all walks of life; from people who didn't know what they wanted, people who were typically told that they couldn't work,
people who had their BA, people in a Master's program - a wide range of people saw success.
Right now is a pivotal time because WIOA requires us to work with students who are 14 or older.
VR counselors in the past would only work with adults after they left the school system, whereas now we work with 14 year olds and up.
I'm seeing a lot more success in that kids are more prepared when they have that support at a young age, and to see them more successfully identify their career paths and they also have many more role models that they can see through social media, stories - kids can see that and they have a lot of hope! They feel they can develop and grow.
I had a specific situation where we had a student who was told that she would never work. She was told to go to Sheltered Workshop, where she could earn a partial rate because she was told she couldn't work competitively.
Our VR counselors came into the picture and wanted to try and see what the outcome could be. So they set up a case where she could work in a pet store with a job coach for support for two weeks, and that worked well.
She was interested and wanted to be hired permanently, so we advocated and worked with the employers to work out a schedule to make sure she was comfortable because there were exact hours of the day that she had to ride the bus.
We set up everything, supported her, and now she has been working for two years and is ready to think about trying for community college. She is still not sure, but that's an example of how we fight for people and provide them with an opportunity, and not just accepting what someone has said to them if they say something like “you can't work.”
No! Try. The operative word is 'try'. That's the key word. I really believe that we can work harder to design around the person and their unique skills and interests.
NDC Logo appears above text, black lettering on a white background: nationaldeafcenter.org
“This video was developed under a jointly-funded grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) and the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) #HD326D160001. However, the contents do not necessarily represent the positions or policies of the federal government.”
Next to it, three logos appear. The first reads “IDEAs that Work” with an arrow drawing a circle from “IDEAs” to “Work” and the words “U.S. Office of Special Education Programs”. The second logo shows a red-and-blue star with text next to it that reads “TA&D”. The third logo shows a blue circle around a tree. In the blue circle are the words “U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION.”
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