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Guidelines for general rehabilitation counselors when providing services to the deaf and those who have other communicative disorders
In a recent survey completed by this writer, it became apparent that there is little, if any information available for �general rehabilitation counselors when serving the deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired in state vocational rehabilitation casework manuals. Out of the sixteen questionnaires that were sent (see Appendix I) fourteen or 87%, were completed and returned. Seven out of the fourteen states had little or no information in their casework manual, and not one state bad a section on speech and language disorders. There were only two states which, in the writer's opinion, had even scratched the surface in providing guidelines and relative information to the general rehabilitation counselor on serving the deaf or hard of hearing. As indicated on the chart located on the next page, one can easily see that the information available is quite limited. It is possible through in-service training programs for the state rehabilitation agencies to provide relative information to the general rehabilitation counselor on serving the deaf, hard of hearing, and speech impaired. A survey of the in-service training programs shows that only seven out of the fourteen states (50%) bad what this writer would judge as adequate in-service training programs. Only five of these states held their in-service training programs more than once annually. Presently in the field of vocational -rehabilitation, there are considerably more clients who have a speech or hearing disability being served by general rehabilitation counselors, than specialized counselors who have been trained to work with communication disorders. In order to insure that quality rehabilitation services are being provided to clients who have communicative disorders, it is 1mparative that the general rehabilitation counselor familiarize himself with the basic characteristics of the problems confronting his clients who have speech or hearing handicaps, and follow basic guidelines when providing services. The guidelines presented in this paper are written specifically for general rehabilitation counselors, and they will be based on the seven steps in the vocational rehabilitation process. A�s in any set of guidelines, it is impossible or impractical to cover all areas, and therefore, the writer bas tried to select those areas which he feels will be most beneficial to the rehabilitation counselor.