How has the Department of Rehabilitation helped you

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Snowy Owl
Snowy Owl

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Joined: 28 Mar 2011
Age: 33
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Location: Iowa

23 Dec 2016, 9:47 pm

I work for the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation in my state. I do accounting and help with closed case files. Our department supposedly has a good reputation, both as a place to work and to get help. *shrug* I used to think it was a decent place to work.

However I went through kind of a rough patch with depression, anxiety, and sleep issues which resulted in me missing work. My boss never talked to me about attendance or told me I was missing too much. She also always approved my time off, so I figured it was okay. Apparently it wasn't because they were going to fire me, despite the fact that it is almost unheard of to fire someone with no disciplinary record.

They decided not to fire me, it's now two weeks later I still haven't found out why. Based on what I've observed and heard, I strongly suspect that they looked at my insurance claims (employers can have access to some medical records for various purposes, especially if they pay for your insurance. It also helps if they are a government agency that regularly handles medical records for legitimate reasons.) and found out about my autism diagnosis.

It's very weird working there for me at the moment. Still trying to get to the bottom of what really happened. No one's telling me much of anything. I hope I'm wrong. If I'm not, I think I may be the in-house autistic that they feel fantastic about employing to show off their "values." Sorry if I sound bitter! I worked for an agency prior to this that had a reputation for being hard on its workers and I was treated so much better there. :?


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Joined: 9 Feb 2012
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Location: California Bay Area

30 Dec 2016, 7:56 pm

The first time I signed up, they didn't (and probably couldn't) help much because I didn't have a specific job objective. I just knew that I needed to work part-time somewhere quiet without a long commute and without much social interaction. I received monthly transportation checks to help my job search, job counseling, and help with my resumé and cover letter.

The second time was MUCH more productive. I was already working from home a bit and needed support to continue. They bought me a computer, ergonomic keyboard, and software. They also gave me some more job counseling, this time about finding new clients.

I'm currently waiting to see if they can pay for a university professional certificate program.

I suggest that you decide on a line of work to pursue and ask for help that is specific to it, otherwise they will consider you "rehabilitated" and close your case shortly after you get any old job (which I assume you can get for yourself).

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Assume nothing; question everything.

Sea Gull
Sea Gull

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01 Jan 2017, 4:51 am

I can't comment on the DoR because I live in Australia. However like other peoples' experiences in this thread, I found similar services here in Australia not suited to finding skilled positions and had no luck finding work through them.

I am mainly posting as someone with a communications degree (masters) my experience social media manager jobs are competitive and there are a lot of people with similar qualifications to mine (or public relations) wanting to get into them without success. If you don't have existing experience in this area I highly recommend you try and obtain some by volunteering your services with a local not-for-profit or even a politician. This should at least give you relevant, recent experience and improve your changes of securing some meaningful employment.


Joined: 10 Dec 2007
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01 Jan 2017, 10:38 am

they're having a lot of issues now because of our stupid governor, fired ton of people and is barely functioning.


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Joined: 7 Jun 2016
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Location: Bellingham, WA, USA

11 Jan 2017, 1:09 pm

i don't know if they have DoR here. there is a place called 'worksource'. they help you get skills to find a new job and are supposed to help place you in them. they also run a regular job board but from what i can tell they are two separate things.

i walked into their office, it was an old veteran fellow at the desk. and behind him were probably 20 people or so at computers and there was a classroom where people were sitting and someone was in the front talking to them. i told the guy at the desk i would like to know what services they offer there and that i was looking for a job. he looked at me and asked what my skills were and what other jobs i have done in the past. and then he told me to go on craigslist.

so i don't think it's government run, but i believe it has some sort of financial backing from the state in general for the retraining programs. i don't think many "resources" available to people actually help anyone but the ones collecting the paychecks. but what do i know really? i wasn't even allowed past the front desk in my situation.

however i have had some success (before the recession in the usa) with temp agencies. i worked through manpower for a company being a typist. i was only 19 at the time though. but it was a great start for me. but i did not know my limitations back then and was unaware of my autistic tendencies and only lasted there a year before burnout. i also found placement through adecco, another temp agency. and though those have actually resulted in some pretty okay desk jobs where i had minimal contact with others; i don't know if currently they are the best way to get work nowadays. i have moved state though so that could be why. but up here i applied through all the temp agencies and it resulted in nothing and their behavior was also different than i remember in regards to having someone that overseas your employment cases. i am currently without a job and not sure how to obtain a new one at this time.

Pileated woodpecker
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13 Jan 2017, 1:56 am

Well, I calmed down, met with DORS, and now things are going far.


Joined: 29 Nov 2015
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07 Feb 2017, 3:09 pm

The Department of Rehabilitation office in my state (CA) is okay. They were able to pay for the first two years of my college education (as I was considered out-of-state at the time and wasn't eligible for financial aid), which was truly a blessing to me, however, they are of little help in my job-hunting experience thus far. I am still trying to get my case transferred from another county to the one I'm in now, but the DOR hasn't reached out to me yet on that. They weren't very helpful when I was in the university either, all they wanted to see was my grades and offered me little support when I asked for it. I was even hoping to move back to Northern CA, and they couldn't provide me any assistance because I had to be living there (in the community I wanted) already. But how can I live there on my own when I have no job or family there, and no other way of supporting myself?! I moved back to my hometown recently to stay with family and am hoping the DOR can help me get a job in the area. I don't intend to stay here forever and eventually want to transfer elsewhere. Good luck to us both (all of us actually)!


Joined: 14 Nov 2016
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07 Feb 2017, 7:59 pm

Love how this thread is still catching on. Anyway, seems like the DOR has been dragging their feet and I have been applying for services since November. I got diagnosed as Aspergers finally and was approved. Before they could do anything further, they require me to get a brain scan.

I've gotten impatient a couple times and called them a lot simply because I am desperate for answers and help. Family pushing me to get a better career seems to not help.

Seriously though, I sometimes want to give up with these guys but then again when you have mental crazy problems, it seems as though you get more shunned for getting help or you have to jump through hoops of fire to get s**t done quick.

I'm finally coming to terms with the Aspergers identity but am now needing help with how to navigate it.

ND score: 131/200
NT score: 58/200

Says I'm Aspie...

Please don't type of paragraphs in response to my questions or replies because that will overwhelm my mind and make me not want to read your responses.


Joined: 21 Jan 2017
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25 Feb 2017, 1:57 pm

Just my $.02 worth, and my experience was based on my physical disability (didn't know about Asperger's at the time), but mine was similar to what other people have described.

Basically, things started off great, with counselors telling me about the successes of other clients, the services the agency provided, and a lot of optimistic talk about my work at the time at the local community college pursuing a degree in audio and video production- and the job possibilities in those fields. She even mentioned the possibility of financial assistance in starting my own production business. I was also given the impression that I was going to qualify for financial aid to continue the degree work at the college I was already doing.

In parallel with that, I was also working with an independent living group whose stated mission was to help people with disabilities get out on their own, finding accessible housing and qualifying for housing assistance.

I was assigned a case worker with the VR agency and after some initial meetings discussing my goals, and what the agency might be able to do for me, and filling out forms, I was scheduled for a period of assessment testing at a private company contracted with the agency to do the actual testing. That entailed a series of all-day sessions over several weeks at the company's offices, and I was lucky that my classes that semester happened to be on Monday evenings, and Tuesday and Thursdays during the day, so it was all day on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for the assessment sessions. That's where the reality of it slowly started to become obvious. The assessments ended up being a lot of basic skills tests and performing small tasks, such as handling and assembling small objects or arranging things within time limits. Interview practice amounted to social skills "practice" geared more for low-functioning people- how to answer simple questions with yes and no and how not to be too interested in the job's pay or hours, or in the details of the job itself for that matter. There were long breaks between testing sessions where one wasn't allowed to leave the offices, so everyone would be sitting around tables in a back room, which I later suspected was also to see how people reacted to sitting and doing nothing- and the varied group of people with their widely varied disabilities made *that* very awkward, with high and low functioning people together putting a limit on any real conversation or even small talk, except for the high functioning people hinting at their realizing, like me, that we were definitely in the wrong place.

That went on for weeks, and it was very mentally exhausting, which in hindsight was probably Asperger "triggers" being set off- sensory issues with bright lights, noise, forced interactions, and becoming very bored and having difficulty focusing on hours on end of busy work without actually feeling engaged, and not being allowed to leave during a lunch break meant for me no break from all the sensory triggers. No meltdowns, but the mental exhaustion became a problem very quickly. To it, it feels like punishment when I'm expected to sit and do nothing, no reading or listening to something with my headset.

At one point, while having a "counseling" session with one of the testers, the tester was asking me questions about my disability and reading the info I brought in from my doctor. The conversation ended with her closing the folder, and asking me what would happen when their doctors find nothing wrong with me. Despite the wheelchair and pages of info from the doctors. After I complete the program after several weeks and had a long meeting with the case worker. Her demeanor had changed from optimistic and helpful. It a long and angry conversation about how fed up she was with high functioning people refusing to take the food service, janitorial, and menial office jobs she and her agency set up for people. She was also fed up with clients coming through the program and coming to her expecting things, including the equipment and financial assistance she was promising people initially. I reminded her of our earlier discussions, and she basically admitted that those promises were just to get clients interested in the program, but the understanding was that clients would give up ideas about college and real independence as sort of an unspoken "agreement" to receive assistance, albeit with a lot of restrictions imposed on what one could pursue- sure, have your fun at college, but know that your future is in fast food, cleaning floors, or office grunt work.

Much of the focus of the program seemed to be on low-functioning people. The vocational programs and so-called "training" was based on getting low-functioning people into very limited work in sheltered workshops or with local fast food places and cleaning services, but at the same time, promoting the agency and their programs as being for persons with all sorts of disabilities, only to act suprised and angry when people with purely physical disabilities, learning disabilities, or mild developmental issues balked at being treated like low functioning intellectually disabled persons, or like lazy teenagers trying to avoid getting "real jobs".

Things with the independent living group panned out almost the same way, only over a longer period of time. Grandiose promises made, only to have things gradually become difficult as things started coming to fruition- apartment deals that looked like a sure thing falling through at the last minute and I'd learn later that those might very well have been staged- group's case worker contacting the apartment manager ahead of time and having them let me see the apartment, let me get excited about how cool it was and admire how wheelchair accessible it and the complex was, make it look like I really might get to move in there, only later to get a call from the case worker about how "oh gee, sorry but no apartment for you there, better luck next time". That happened a few times, and I finally got blunt about it and asked the case worker what was going on, where he admitted that most clients get the hint and accept that they're not getting their own place because accessible apartments are hard to find, and that quite a few disabled persons resign themselves to living with their parents more or less permanently. Except, as with the VR program, they put a special effort into getting low-functioning people into apartments and being to some degree independent, while penalizing the higher functioning people who might want the same thing.

So I'm not sure how things are in other places, but where I live, there's an unfortunate tendency for various disability resources meant to help all disabled persons end up focusing an inordinate amount of effort and resources for whatever disability they deem more socially acceptable or worthy of help. I've seen more discrimination in regards to housing and jobs coming from within the disability community than from outside of it.

I'm finally dealing with my own lack of employment by working on a project of my own that has a good chance of making money later on :D