Placement of Severely Disabled Persons : Multi-Discipline Team Compared to Rehabilitation Counselors
Tooman, Marvin L.
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Introduction. The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 has mandated that state vocational rehabilitation agencies prioritize their services to those persons who have a severe disability. In order to effectively place the severely disabled through the use of more sophisticated placement techniques, a few rehabilitation professionals are calling for a new type of professional in rehabilitation. Recognizing that the new placement techniques would involve such things as job modifications and/or adaptations and job accommodations, the need for a rehabilitation worker skilled in engineering was identified. The Problem. The purpose of this study was to determine if the utilization of a multi-discipline team utilizing bio-engineering techniques was efficient as well as cost-effective in placing severely disabled persons when compared to the traditional placement methods of public vocational rehabilitation agencies. Procedure. This study was conducted in five midwestern metropolitan areas. The sample for the study was 28 severely physically disabled persons who were ready for placement. Matched pairs were established between subjects for the multi-discipline team and a control group. Successful and non-successful placements were recorded for each group. Further, cost information was maintained for each subject in their placement activities. A sign test was used to distinguish the differences of the placement rates of the groups. A correlated t test was used to determine the difference in the cost-effectiveness of the two groups. Findings. In testing the research hypotheses at the .05 level, a significant difference was found between the multi-discipline team and the rehabilitation counselors for the placement rates in the placement of severely disabled persons. There was not a significant difference between these two groups in the cost of placement services for severely disabled persons. Conclusion. Two general conclusions were drawn from the finding of this study. 1. The movement of severely disabled persons into productive employment was improved through the use of a rehabilitation team that utilizes low cost bio-engineering techniques. 2. The cost-effectivenss of a specialized rehabilitation team over the traditional placement methods of a state's vocational rehabilitation agency cannot be substantiated.
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