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mitch413
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02 Jan 2012, 3:09 pm

I am wondering if anyone else has used their state's vocational rehabilitation commission, and if so, what they felt about it. Was it useful or a waste of time? I am on the waiting list to have my intake interview with the Massachusetts voc rehab commission and am not sure what to expect out of the interview or from their services. Thing is, they have some pretty strict eligibility requirements since they cannot take everybody who has a disability. The intake interview is when they determine your eligibility and what types of services you may need. I'm not totally certain I'll be eligible for their services since my AS is pretty mild. However, I do have a hearing loss that is not related to my AS, so I may qualify on that basis.

I have a BS and MS degree in meteorology, but have not been able to land any positions in the field. Although I can't really expect them to help me in a field as specialized as this, I wonder if they will be able to help me train for and find a job in another field such as IT. I guess I'm kind of anxious to find out whether or not they'll be helpful, provided I'm eligible in the first place. I would assume you need documentation to provide them with information and proof of your disability. Anyone who has had experience with their state's voc rehab office, please feel free to chime in. Thanks.



glasstoria
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02 Jan 2012, 3:26 pm

Well this is my experience so far. They are very slow to decide, and took more than the full 60 days for mine. After I had fully applied, they had my name wrong on my letters! A totally different first name that starts with the same letter.

I met the lady for my first starter appointment, and signed forms for her to be able to collect my medical records. She seemed nice enough at that time but it was very brief.

The second meeting I had quite a few weeks later was much worse. She showed me the papers of my acceptance, and I was accepted solely on my anxiety and depression, not Aspergers. I was very confused about this, and the lady said to me that she "didn't see it" in me, which at the time made me feel very upset and confused, how could she judge if I had what is essentially an invisible disability after knowing me for ten minutes? So I had to talk about this to my therapist and she told me the intake lady probably did not want to officially identify autism on my Voc Rehab forms because then she would be required to do a lot more work on my case for me.

So anyway, I had a horrible meeting that second time, and she said that I could go into a program to do some work with a supervisor just to evaluate what resources I would need in a workplace. They were supposed to call me so I could pick a program to try (unpaid), but they never did, and I have not made more calls to inquire about this because I hate making phone calls and I was quite discouraged after meeting my case worker and she treated me like I didn't know what was going on with my own self.

What my therapist advised me to do was that my case worker is notorious for not doing anything unless you make repeated calls and keep her accountable and on track. Also my case worker asked me the worst question " What services do you want from us?" which was terrible because I have no idea what they offer and what I am eligible for an it was my feeling that she should have told me A B and C and then ask what I wanted.

So, if I am going to get anything out of it I may have to make alot more effort to get services, or possibly try to get a new case worker if I could go out of town to see someone else (she is the only one who travels to my small town to do Voc Rehab).

Oh, also, I have a college degree that I am not using and possibly not able to use. That doesnt count against you that I know of.

Good luck!


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MynameisAnna
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02 Jan 2012, 9:02 pm

umm well i am still waiting on the VR person to call me back.
my school recomended it because i graduate this year.
im not sure what kind of job i want or what ill be good at.
i dont kno how much these VR pepole can help me realy.
i hope they can help me find a good job..



mitch413
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03 Jan 2012, 1:50 pm

glasstoria wrote:
Well this is my experience so far. They are very slow to decide, and took more than the full 60 days for mine. After I had fully applied, they had my name wrong on my letters! A totally different first name that starts with the same letter.

I met the lady for my first starter appointment, and signed forms for her to be able to collect my medical records. She seemed nice enough at that time but it was very brief.

The second meeting I had quite a few weeks later was much worse. She showed me the papers of my acceptance, and I was accepted solely on my anxiety and depression, not Aspergers. I was very confused about this, and the lady said to me that she "didn't see it" in me, which at the time made me feel very upset and confused, how could she judge if I had what is essentially an invisible disability after knowing me for ten minutes? So I had to talk about this to my therapist and she told me the intake lady probably did not want to officially identify autism on my Voc Rehab forms because then she would be required to do a lot more work on my case for me.

So anyway, I had a horrible meeting that second time, and she said that I could go into a program to do some work with a supervisor just to evaluate what resources I would need in a workplace. They were supposed to call me so I could pick a program to try (unpaid), but they never did, and I have not made more calls to inquire about this because I hate making phone calls and I was quite discouraged after meeting my case worker and she treated me like I didn't know what was going on with my own self.

What my therapist advised me to do was that my case worker is notorious for not doing anything unless you make repeated calls and keep her accountable and on track. Also my case worker asked me the worst question " What services do you want from us?" which was terrible because I have no idea what they offer and what I am eligible for an it was my feeling that she should have told me A B and C and then ask what I wanted.

So, if I am going to get anything out of it I may have to make alot more effort to get services, or possibly try to get a new case worker if I could go out of town to see someone else (she is the only one who travels to my small town to do Voc Rehab).

Oh, also, I have a college degree that I am not using and possibly not able to use. That doesnt count against you that I know of.

Good luck!


Thanks...seems like these government bureaucracies are always ridiculously slow. Sorry to hear things didn't work out too well for you with them. I'd definitely try going out of town to see if you might get a better Voc Rehab counselor, if it's at all possible. Sounds like you get assigned to work with someone, making it a "luck of the draw" type of deal in terms of who you work with. It's the same deal here. I'm still waiting to hear, and I think I should call to get a status report, but I hate making phone calls. It's definitely outside of my comfort zone.



dianthus
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05 Jan 2012, 9:00 pm

I went through vocational rehab. (GA) to get evaluated for ADHD while I was in college. A few years later I had dropped out of college and was having trouble finding a job. So I went back there hoping they could help me find a job or at least give me some advice.

I talked to this guy there who asked me a few questions and within about 10 minutes decided my problem was "depression". It was one of the most horrible conversations I have ever had with anyone in my entire life. Somehow it came up that I tend to sleep late in the mornings, I don't know why, I guess I mentioned that I preferred to work second shift because all my previous jobs had been evening or night jobs. So on the basis of that he decided I was depressed and unable to find a job because I did not get up early enough in the morning.

I don't remember exactly what he was, I mean what his job title was or what his qualifications were, but I know he was not qualified to diagnose me with anything and that is not what I was there for anyway. He was really overbearing and kept trying to tell me I should be on medication for depression. And I just kept saying, hey look I just want some help finding a job. I finally got up and left with nothing because I could not get that message across to him. And the funny thing is, I had a job interview that very afternoon and got the job.



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07 Jan 2012, 2:39 am

I'm glad I'm not the only person with horrible experiences... ;A;
It all depends on the person you're assigned. Hopefully you'll get a nice counselor that cares.
I have a mixed feelings about voc rehab. On one hand they're helpful in paying for school tuition, books, and supplies. They'll even help pay for clothes for interviews, and mileage for gas. For jobs, they'll help you write a resume, give you job applications, and practice interview skills.

However I had a rather nightmarish experience with a counselor when it came to looking for jobs. I had just graduated from college, and was ready to find work related to my field. The first meeting with them they admitted they've never worked with people in my field. Because of their incompetence they told me I should just give up, and look for a minimum wage job. My counselor was really insistent that people like me should be put in a back room sorting mail. (I graduated top of my class...this has NOTHING to do with my field.) Later I found out from someone who works within their department that these people get bonuses every time they place someone in a job. So they pretty much don't care what you do, just as long as you get a job. They're also very slow when it comes to accommodations. I had to wait a full year for them to do nothing because they conveniently 'forgot' about the accommodations I had asked for. If I ask what was going on after waiting months, I'd be accused of being rude for being 'impatient'. The counselor I had was not supportive of me, and would constantly talk down to me. (Think of Professor Dolores Umbridge, that's the kind of counselor I had.)

So far I'm in the process of transferring to a new counselor. I pray that my new counselor is a better one.



Tadzio
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07 Jan 2012, 6:12 am

Madao wrote:
I'm glad I'm not the only person with horrible experiences... ;A;
It all depends on the person you're assigned. Hopefully you'll get a nice counselor that cares.
I have a mixed feelings about voc rehab. On one hand they're helpful in paying for school tuition, books, and supplies. They'll even help pay for clothes for interviews, and mileage for gas. For jobs, they'll help you write a resume, give you job applications, and practice interview skills.

However I had a rather nightmarish experience with a counselor when it came to looking for jobs. I had just graduated from college, and was ready to find work related to my field. The first meeting with them they admitted they've never worked with people in my field. Because of their incompetence they told me I should just give up, and look for a minimum wage job. My counselor was really insistent that people like me should be put in a back room sorting mail. (I graduated top of my class...this has NOTHING to do with my field.) Later I found out from someone who works within their department that these people get bonuses every time they place someone in a job. So they pretty much don't care what you do, just as long as you get a job. They're also very slow when it comes to accommodations. I had to wait a full year for them to do nothing because they conveniently 'forgot' about the accommodations I had asked for. If I ask what was going on after waiting months, I'd be accused of being rude for being 'impatient'. The counselor I had was not supportive of me, and would constantly talk down to me. (Think of Professor Dolores Umbridge, that's the kind of counselor I had.)

So far I'm in the process of transferring to a new counselor. I pray that my new counselor is a better one.


I had about the same results with Rehab Counselors about 25-30 years ago in California after graduating magna cum laude. He repeatedly told me that he never experienced anyone encountering so many unusual problems getting a job, and then, he would tell me that it wasn't unusual, in that it happened to everybody. They told me to get lost later with the official finding: "Your health at the present time interferes with carrying out a vocational program. Due to the severity and complexity of your disabling condition, the department is unable to provide services which will likely lead to adequate employment at this time." http://www.wrongplanet.net/postp4195374.html#4195374

I wanted a job with a future, and preferably in one of my field of studies (psych & business), but I only got put on disability. I fought for a federal job for over ten years, and some lawyers did think it was funny that the FDIC told me they wanted someone "with the bull-dog tenacity to elicit incriminating evidence from recalcitrant bankers" and that I was too timid, then it took a decade for them to get the courts to get me loose off their back with discrimination lawsuits.

Other programs wanted me to try for less than minimum wage jobs that were unhealthy and dangerous (things like cleaning out refinery petroleum tanks), but losing my driver's license over impairments also prevented that, and now that I am closer to a disabled jobless retirement, I'm still getting advice like "And I think you could spend less time filing lawsuits, and more time making an honest assessment of your strengths and weaknesses, to see where they can add value in the marketplace, so you can be successful selling yourself for the types of positions you might want." http://www.wrongplanet.net/postxf185280-0-30.html

A few "fatherly" EEOC ALJ's told me I would be bored with lowly jobs, and that I should try for more challenging positions, while other ones told me that I was in denial, and that I had to swallow my hopes for employment, and get by on accepting my disability the rest of my life.

Maybe the newer interpretations of the ADAAA will finally have practical results, if the economy ever picks back up: http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/5-13-11.cfm

Tadzio



Nick9075
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08 Jan 2012, 11:06 am

I had about the same results with Rehab Counselors about 25-30 years ago in California after graduating magna cum laude. He repeatedly told me that he never experienced anyone encountering so many unusual problems getting a job, and then, he would tell me that it wasn't unusual, in that it happened to everybody.

Yes, that is what I have been told by counselors here in the workforce centers. I have degrees in Accounting or Finance but cannot get a job and many temp jobs I got just ended abruptly.

Also, there is no way really to explain a less than perfect or bad work history. When you are in your 30's or older it is the kiss of death. Employers expect you to be established in your career & have a linear corporate job history



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08 Jan 2012, 4:43 pm

I'm also in Massachusetts - and I'm currently waiting on things with Mass Rehab.

First thing to note, they're very slow. Incredibly slow.

The person who I was assigned to for Mass Rehab is surprisingly knowledgeable about Asperger's, and most of the people she works with are on the autistic spectrum.

If you have sensory issues, do remember that those are part of your disability, not just the social issues. They do want to know about those types of issues too.

I qualified easily, personally.

Expect it to be very slow (bears repeating).

I've not had a negative experience. I've just found it to be very slow. My case worker understands working with people on the spectrum though, and that's been a good thing. I've not had as many of the issues that others on here are talking about.

As for the paperwork about my disability - they got my diagnosis of Asperger's, and the rest of the paperwork was me self reporting about what I had difficulties with. They didn't need the paperwork for diagnoses for everything to be completely formal - I could report migraines without my doctor giving me a copy of a neurologist claiming I had migraines because they already had a formal diagnosis of a disability.



mitch413
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08 Jan 2012, 10:02 pm

Tuttle wrote:
I'm also in Massachusetts - and I'm currently waiting on things with Mass Rehab.

First thing to note, they're very slow. Incredibly slow.

The person who I was assigned to for Mass Rehab is surprisingly knowledgeable about Asperger's, and most of the people she works with are on the autistic spectrum.

If you have sensory issues, do remember that those are part of your disability, not just the social issues. They do want to know about those types of issues too.

I qualified easily, personally.

Expect it to be very slow (bears repeating).

I've not had a negative experience. I've just found it to be very slow. My case worker understands working with people on the spectrum though, and that's been a good thing. I've not had as many of the issues that others on here are talking about.

As for the paperwork about my disability - they got my diagnosis of Asperger's, and the rest of the paperwork was me self reporting about what I had difficulties with. They didn't need the paperwork for diagnoses for everything to be completely formal - I could report migraines without my doctor giving me a copy of a neurologist claiming I had migraines because they already had a formal diagnosis of a disability.


I was on the waiting list for 90 days. After more than 90 days passed and no contact from them, I decided to give my local MRC office a call at the advice of my therapist. I did and they scheduled me for the intake interview later this week. From what someone in my Aspie social group told me, you kind of have to be on their case and can't necessarily expect them to initiate things with you in terms of scheduling appointments, etc. I haven't met my counselor yet, so I don't know whether or not she'll know anything about Asperger's. I mentioned it when I made the initial call, so hopefully that had some sway on things.

I also have a hearing loss that is not related to my AS. I should qualify on this basis alone, if my AS diagnosis isn't enough for them for whatever reason. Hopefully they'll be helpful.



StillStanding
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24 Jan 2012, 12:50 am

I'm working with Voc Rehab now in my state. I'm being made to attend a weekly job club that's clearly not really working for me. I mean, how many times do I need to work on my resume and look online for jobs? Not to mention, I have a degree and the other folks in the club are searching for warehouse, factory, janitorial jobs. Like you, I have specialized needs and they aren't being addressed. On the upside they are paying for certain accommodations that I need, for when I do land a job. It's nice to get out of the house to go somewhere that's (nearly, sort of) productive.


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24 Jan 2012, 1:39 am

I think if you've had serious problems with your local VR office there is probably a Client Assistance Program in your state that will advocate on your behalf. (there is in my state) If you have contacted your counselor's supervisor and then the regional supervisor and are still having problems, it might be worth looking into.

As to the original question: There isn't a wait list in my state's VR office right now so I don't know how that's generally handled, but I think it would definitely be worth telling your counselor about any and all possible issues you may have that would complicate employment. It's basically employment triage, the more help you need, the more help you'll get.
Also, regulations have changed A LOT in the last 20 years and the counselor needs to present a truly compelling case (complete with trial work experience) before claiming that you can't be helped.

One good thing is that because of the sudden increase in ASD referrals to VR, a lot of counselors are actively seeking education on the subject and you actually stand a pretty good chance of being served appropriately. And I can't think of a reason why VR wouldn't support an effort to land a job in meteorology or (if you qualify) help you with continuing education in IT. A closure is a closure and the happier the client the happier the counselor.
(Also, these are state employees and I don't think they actually get bonuses and the pay ranges for their positions are usually a matter of public record. So you could check if you really care)



mitch413
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17 May 2013, 8:25 am

I am now at the point where I need to be looking for a job and have been working with the Massachusetts Rehab Commission (MRC). They helped to pay for 3 semesters of IT/Computer Science courses at a local community college. The thing is, I went back to community college after being unable to find a job in my original field of study (see OP). I'm not sure if this was a good resume move, but I didn't know what else to do. Now that I'm done with school (again), I still don't really know what I want to do. I've never really had a regular job before.

Anyhow, I met with my VR counselor yesterday and she is referring my case to Asperger's Association of New England's (AANE) LifeMAP program. I have mixed feelings about this because it gives me a little bit of that I'm the hot potato that gets passed around feeling, if you know what I mean. To put it more concisely, I'm beginning to wonder if my case is too complex for MRC and they'd rather just pass me on to someone else. I was kind of hoping and expecting that my VR counselor would have some legitimate job leads for me as opposed to recommending that I see someone else. The good thing is that MRC will pay AANE for the coaching, and AANE probably has more knowledge of the issues associated with ASDs. AANE's office is in Watertown, MA, which is about 2 hours away from me. While certainly not impossible for me to get there, it's a bit inconvenient for me to go there frequently.

This isn't to say that my local MRC office is giving up on me, as I will still be in contact with my local VR counselor. I'm hoping to meet their job placement specialist soon as well. Hopefully he will have some more legitimate job leads, as he is the person who supposedly goes knocking on doors and looking for jobs at local employers.

What becomes of all of this, I don't know. I hope I can get a decent job somehow as I don't want to end up on SSI and live at home indefinitely, but I think I have a major uphill battle as my employment history is extremely sparse.



GCAspies
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17 May 2013, 12:11 pm

mitch413 wrote:
I am wondering if anyone else has used their state's vocational rehabilitation commission, and if so, what they felt about it. Was it useful or a waste of time? I am on the waiting list to have my intake interview with the Massachusetts voc rehab commission and am not sure what to expect out of the interview or from their services. Thing is, they have some pretty strict eligibility requirements since they cannot take everybody who has a disability. The intake interview is when they determine your eligibility and what types of services you may need. I'm not totally certain I'll be eligible for their services since my AS is pretty mild. However, I do have a hearing loss that is not related to my AS, so I may qualify on that basis.

I have a BS and MS degree in meteorology, but have not been able to land any positions in the field. Although I can't really expect them to help me in a field as specialized as this, I wonder if they will be able to help me train for and find a job in another field such as IT. I guess I'm kind of anxious to find out whether or not they'll be helpful, provided I'm eligible in the first place. I would assume you need documentation to provide them with information and proof of your disability. Anyone who has had experience with their state's voc rehab office, please feel free to chime in. Thanks.


I am a Voc Rehab client and have a BS in Financial Planning and a MS in Education. Landed a postgraduate position at a branch campus of a major Midwestern university, but resigned (was about to be fired later that afternoon if I had not resigned) after only working 8 months there. Long story short, was diagnosed with Aspergers, went into a funk for over a year, then went through my recovery time. My VR counselor lobbied on my behalf to get her boss to authorize two years of funding for me to complete a bachelor's degree in accounting. Done with year 1 - year 2 begins in August this year and I graduate in May 2014. After my VR counselor found out that I have high functioning autism, I qualified for services.


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