The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation understands that individuals with hearing loss have different communication needs. Clear communication between the rehabilitation counselor and the individual with hearing loss is the key to successful vocational rehabilitation services. Eligible individuals receive services to get a job, return to a job, keep a job, or get a better job.
The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation has staff trained to understand about the different problems individuals with hearing loss may have. Rehabilitation Counselors for the Deaf have sign language skills and serve deaf individuals and use this type of communication. Communication Specialists are trained about devices and ways to serve individuals who are hard of hearing or late deafened. Rehabilitation Counselors for the Deaf and Communication Specialists are also skilled in serving individuals with vision problems in addition to a hearing loss or deafness.
Individuals who use sign language are served by a Rehabilitation Counselor for the Deaf. There are Rehabilitation Counselors for the Deaf statewide to provide services.
Examples of specialized services are:
- Information and counseling about jobs
- Information and referral for other services
- Assessment about job skills
- Training programs with support services to learn job skills
- Technology (including training) - for work related technology
- Job Placement assistance
- Interpreting Services
Hard of Hearing-Late Deafened Services
Vocational Rehabilitation has implemented a new initiative in serving individuals who are hard of hearing and late deafened. Vocational Rehabilitation currently has 45 Communication Specialists located in the major Vocational Rehabilitation offices statewide. An individual whose communication mode is use of amplification (hearing aids, and/or assistive listening devices), lip reading, large visual display or real time captioning would be served by the Communication Specialists that covers the county in which they live. Communication Specialists' have experience in assistive technology, coping skills training, communication strategies, and job site/work analysis.
Some examples of these specialized services for individuals who are hard of hearing/late deafened include:
- Assessment of technology needs
- Onsite work/task analysis
- Technology training
- Communication/Coping skills training
- Educational training programs with support services such as note-takers, interpreters, assistive listening devices
- Community training programs such as employment preparation and training
The DeafBlind Program coordinates services to individuals who have been identified as having a combination of hearing and vision loss in varying degrees.
Several staff may work together to provide the services needed by a deaf-blind individual. Services may be provided by a rehabilitation counselor for the deaf, a communications specialist, and a rehabilitation counselor for the blind.
Depending on the needs of the individual, services for a deaf-blind individual may be provided by:
- Rehabilitation Counselors for the Deaf
- Rehabilitation Counselors for the Blind
- Communication Specialists
- Deaf-Blind Specialists
- Staff at the Carl D. Perkins Vocational Training Center
- Staff at the Charles McDowell Center
- KYOVR Interpreters
A deaf-blind individual can receive the following services to help get and keep a job:
- Testing to decide what technology can help both hearing and vision
- Training to learn to use assistive technology
- Guidance and counseling from a rehabilitation counselor trained in hearing and vision loss
- Finding out what can help an individual at the job site
- Training to improve communication and deal with problems
- Help to get services from other agencies
- Help to decide what the individual's abilities & interests are
- Support services (interpreters, notetakers, etc.) while an individual goes to school
- Training and preparation for a job
- Help to learn job tasks and be successful at work