Comprehensive Vocational Rehabilitation Program
HKNC is a leader in the field for virtual vocational rehabilitation services for and among individuals who are deaf-blind.
HKNC is offering virtual opportunities for assessment and training based on your interests, schedule, and goals. Assessment in the core areas of employment services, adaptive technology, communication, independent living, and mobility with the clinical areas of audiology, low vision and mental health counseling are offered remotely. Creative strategies are used to collect information during the 4-week assessment and support is offered to connect to your classes remotely. The assessment and training are tailored to your goals and interests with a focus on practical application in your life. Your home, and when available your community, are the natural training environments where strategies that will benefit you are discovered and practiced. Your team of instructors will co-create your training program with you. Invest in yourself and explore what HKNC can do for you! There is an array of training options available.
Employment Services - The HKNC employment services address an array of areas dedicated to preparing each person for success with a job commensurate with one’s abilities, talents, interests, and aspirations.
Vocational Assessment - The virtual assessment will provide opportunities for you to identify specific goals so you may strengthen skills and knowledge and become work ready. The learning opportunities will guide you in building a reference point for work and to enhance your work skills and strategies for success. Strategies include learning adaptations for your determined job to maximize job performance. The assessment process outcomes are varied. You will create a work portfolio with personalized information about your work skills, strengths, accessibility needs, and adaptations for the specific tasks, related experiences and work objectives.
Job Exploration – Each individual will begin identifying their interests by completing interest inventories which could include but are not limited to: verbal or pictorial editions; O*Net Interest profiles; mynextmove program, https://www.mynextmove.org/ or assessments included in the virtualjobshadow program https://www.virtualjobshadow.com/
HKNC uses the virtualjobshadow.com program which is a resource that provides opportunities for job shadowing and comprehensive career exploration. The program offers videos where you can job shadow professionals and get an understanding of the day to day life in a particular job. The section on job exploration offers a multitude of interest inventories that link to a full description of the career cluster chosen and a future look of employment opportunities. You can also identify colleges in your home state that offer programs related to your vocational interests. In addition, videos are provided to discuss soft skills. The program offers closed captioning and is accessible with JAWS. Assessment and training are provided utilizing the virtualjobshadow.com platform in combination with instruction by the HKNC transdisciplinary team.
Work readiness - HKNC provides opportunities for you to gain work readiness skills through participation in collaborative peer learning groups. These groups offer opportunities to learn from others to build a reference for work and enhance one’s knowledge of work skills, including soft skills and strategies for success. Topics for work readiness include strategies for accessibility and understanding the tenets of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), practicing applications both paper and online; developing interviewing skills; developing a resume; self-advocacy; time management; problem-solving skills and soft skills.
A transition plan is the key to successfully securing employment. HKNC’s Deaf-Blind Specialists are located throughout the country and if available in your state can play a major role in assisting with your job search. In addition, HKNC’s National Employment & Business Relations Specialist focuses on developing relationships with national companies. The Specialist will work closely with you and your team to provide job leads and introductions to companies. The Specialist is also a resource for developing and providing training with your employer.
Job seeking skills - You will explore the job market in relation to your identified career interests, engage in informational interviews, prepare a resume, experience mock or real time job interviews, and gain skills to utilize a variety of strategies and resources for job seeking.
Transdisciplinary approach- Orientation and mobility skills, skills of independent living, communication skills training, adaptive technology, audiology, and low vision are incorporated into each individualized training plan. In addition, a technology instructor will work with you to assess your adaptive technology skills to determine the optimal instruction modality that would insure that you have full access to information and instruction. Instruction may be provided by telephone, iPhone, iPad, e-mail, computer, videophone, FaceTime, Zoom meetings and Google Classroom among other virtual options.
Communications Skills Training - Training is provided on communication methods in the work environment for face-to-face communication including communication cards, apps, text messaging and how to access group interpreting. This includes accessing ASL interpreting and captioning during group meetings and accessing group video platforms such as Zoom. Instruction on banking and budgeting, time management, college exploration, sign language and fingerspelling, and academics provide opportunities to develop and enhance communication skills for optimal participation at work, home, college and in one’s community. Distance braille classes are offered to anyone from beginners to someone who is interested in further refining skills and/or continuing to gain proficiency.
Adaptive Technology Skills Training - Training is provided on assistive technology related to screen magnifiers, screen readers, braille displays, text to speech, braille note takers, Dolphin Guide Connect, OCR software/hardware, digital book services, relay services and accessible keyboards. Training on technology for the Apple iPhone, Apple iPad, and iOS apps such as Object Recognition, GPS, Proloquo2go, Face-to-Face Communication, Zoom Meeting and Social Media is the gateway for accessible, effective and efficient communication in all domains of life. Computer and related skills including e-mail, internet, word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, Google docs, typing, operating systems, webcams/camera, scanners, drawing, readers, removable storage devices and video editing are areas of training available to match the needs of the learner for work, home, school and in the community. Remote programs such as JAWS Tandem and TeamViewer are used to remotely access your computer for troubleshooting support if needed.
Independent Living Skills Training – The independent living remote assessment will be completed through a combination of interview, self-report and video observation. The independent living assessment questionnaire will be incorporated to cover areas of the independent living curriculum. The assessment may also include assignments to be completed and discussed with the evaluator. When possible, equipment will be demonstrated through video. Based on assessment in the areas listed below, appropriate training and equipment recommendations will be made. Independent Living training focuses on food preparation for simple and advanced meal preparation which incorporates menu planning, following recipes, food shopping, and safe tactile cooking techniques for the stove, oven, alternate cooking equipment and adaptive appliances. Training on organization, labeling, wardrobe management, personal care, alerting devices and housekeeping skills provide the foundation for success at work, school, in the community and at home.
Orientation and Mobility Skills Training - When performing a virtual orientation and mobility (O&M) assessment certified orientation and mobility specialists (COMS) will collect data in a variety of formats with the consumer to determine training goals that will benefit their unique abilities and home travel environments. Data will be collected via a consumer interview, video submission, and information provided (if needed) by virtual assistants, which may include blind rehabilitation professionals (COMS, CVRT, and/or TVI) and/or family and friends. Throughout this entire assessment the voice of the consumer will ultimately drive determined training goals. HKNC Instructors will pay specific attention to associated risk for all categories of assessment. If the risk to capture data is too high, then only interview feedback from the consumer will be used to determine goals. The Orientation and Mobility services include assessment and training on orientation to indoor and outdoor environments, human guide skills, protective techniques and recovering dropped objects, cane knowledge and techniques, stair travel, indoor and outdoor travel, communication when traveling, street crossings, public transportation, night travel, preparedness for community travel and dog guides.
Low Vision Training - The low vision specialist works with you to learn about your current vision capabilities and functional visual difficulties using interviews and by reviewing vision reports. Assistive tools such as distance and near magnifiers, telescopes, and Artificial Intelligence (wearable device) may be discussed with a focus on exploring the benefits and concerns for each low vision tool. Corresponding implications based on shared visual diagnosis will be discussed with you to bring clarity and understanding on how to maximize your current functional vision.
Audiology Services-The audiologist provides information to you regarding hearing loss, hearing function and what the options are for managing the hearing loss. Whether a person would do best with in-the-ear, behind-the-ear or receiver-in-the-ear hearing aids and what assistive listening devices would work with those hearing aids are some of the topics that can be covered in a virtual consultation with the HKNC audiologist. Other considerations is whether you use cochlear implants or BAHAs and still struggle with communication? Perhaps the addition of a remote microphone is needed. Is an FM system needed or will a remote microphone system be sufficient? Would Bluetooth connectivity be sufficient or would you also need direct audio input to access some of their auditory devices, such as talking book players? Knowing the options and understanding your listening needs is critical to making an informed decision. The audiologist can provide personalized consultations to assist you with navigating the options.
Mental Health Services- Helen Keller National Center recognizes the need for emotional support as an integral part of a person’s journey through the transitional stage of life regarding vocational rehabilitation training. At present, HKNC continues to offer mental health services remotely in the capacity of individual supportive counseling and support groups. These services are being provided by a Certified Licensed Clinical Social Worker. The supports provided vary from psychotherapy, to confidence building and self-advocacy. Mental health counseling plays a crucial role in a successful rehabilitation journey for people who struggle with isolation, depression, anxiety, grief, and loss. At present remote supportive individual counseling is being provided. In addition, there are several support groups being facilitated. These groups meet the needs of individuals who are deaf-blind with various needs. Groups currently facilitated are Usher syndrome I, Usher syndrome II and hard of hearing support groups. The groups run for approximately 8 weeks and provide a safe forum where each participant can obtain a clearer understanding of dual sensory loss and begin to explore their emotional adjustment in regards to self and the impact it has had on their family and environment. With the support of the facilitators and the other members of the group, coping mechanisms and barriers will be explored and identified and advocacy issues will be addressed. The group focus is to allow the participants to work through their adjustment in anticipation to bringing them closer to adapting to everyday life with a dual sensory loss which can facilitate more productive training in addition to providing coping skills for the future. In addition, it provides people with a connection to others, renews friendships and develops new ones.
Groups will continue to evolve based on the need and feedback received from participants.
For more information, please contact your HKNC Regional Representative,
https://www.helenkeller.org/hknc/nationwide-services or HKNC Admissions Coordinator, Dora Carney firstname.lastname@example.org