Quarterly Connections: News from the NRTC
Linking Blindness and Low Vision Research to Practice
Current RRTC Research Highlights: A Customized Transportation Intervention Revisited
For people who are blind or visually impaired, one of the major barriers to obtaining employment is being able to secure reliable transportation to and from work. An approach commonly used by many vocational rehabilitation (VR) counselors to address this problem is to provide funding for transportation at the beginning of employment and gradually phase out support with the expectation that the individual will have the economic means to continue funding transportation on their own. One key component lacking from this approach is the customization of transportation plans to account for each individual's unique resources, needs, and circumstances. To address this issue, the Customized Transportation Intervention project adapted the "customized employment" model and applied it to a transportation framework. The "customized employment" model emphasizes focusing on the strengths of individual consumers and identifying job opportunities based on those strengths as opposed to fitting a consumer into a position that is available but does not necessarily match the skills and strengths of the consumer.
Similarly, the goal of the transportation project is to develop customized transportation plans tailored to the resources available to each individual. This plan is developed cooperatively by consumers, their support systems, and a transportation coordinator whose main goal is to explore, identify, and implement individualized transportation plans. The transportation coordinator assists each consumer in devising and implementing the plan and securing transportation to and from work. An additional benefit of this project is through working with transportation coordinators, consumers gain knowledge about transportation options and develop skills for coordinating transportation for future needs, setting them up for success in future endeavors.
The NRTC research team and transportation coordinators worked collaboratively with the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services to implement this intervention. Alabama's distribution of urban and rural communities and the cooperation of the Alabama VR counselors and administrators made the state an ideal place to implement and assess this intervention. Alabama VR Counselors serving consumers who are blind identified and referred appropriate persons to participate in this project from November 2011 to November 2012. This phase of the project yielded 53 referrals resulting in a total of 48 participants who completed pre-test measures. Of those contacted to participate, 16 persons are in the intervention group and the remainder in the comparison group.
Participants in the comparison group were given a transportation manual that presents different strategies and avenues for obtaining reliable transportation to work. Participants in the intervention group were assigned a transportation coordinator who worked with them individually to determine transportation needs, identify transportation resources, anticipate transportation expenses, and assist them in securing transportation to work. After 60 days of working with the transportation coordinators, participants in the intervention group were contacted to evaluate their satisfaction with the service.
After one year of participating in the project, both the comparison group and intervention group members will be contacted to complete post-test measures, which are the same items administered in the pre-test, consisting of transportation knowledge, problem solving, and self-efficacy instruments. Comparing pre-test and post-test measures will allow us to discern whether working with a transportation coordinator impacts consumers' knowledge related to transportation, problem solving skills, and self-efficacy.
The project is currently in the phase of administering satisfaction surveys to participants in the intervention group and post-tests to early referrals. Of the 16 participants in the intervention group, 10 have completed instruments to assess their satisfaction with the customized transportation intervention. Preliminary results indicate participants are pleased with the services they received. Results regarding the effectiveness of the intervention will be available in approximately one year.
Data continues to be collected from intervention participants about the most effective strategies and resources for securing transportation to and from work. The data collected will ultimately be used to develop a transportation resource guide for consumers and service providers that will be posted on the NRTC website.
In the Works: Training and TA
Vision Specialist Program 2013
New TACE Contract
Other NRTC News:
Randolph-Sheppard Brochure Available Online
Two NRTC Staff serving as AER Division II Officers
NRTC Research Utilization Award
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Publications, Presentations, and Miscellanies
Recent Publications/Publications in Press:
Publications Recently Archived for Download from Our Website:
McBroom, L.W., Giesen, J.M., Gooding, E.M., & Hicks, J. (1996). Participation Levels of African Americans in the Profession of Blindness Services: Views of Service Providers (Executive Summary). Mississippi State, Mississippi: Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision.
Talor, C.R., Maxson, J.H., Johnson, C., & Robertson, C. (1996). Relationships of Participant Selection and Cost Factors of Service Delivery Across Rehabilitation Agency Types. Monograph I: Defining Rehabilitation Agency Types. Mississippi State, Mississippi: Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision.
Giesen, J.M. & D'Amato, R.C. (1992). Factorial Identification of Characteristics of Blind Clients in Vocational Rehabilitation and Implications for Employment Outcomes. Monograph I: Dimensions of the Rehabilitation Service Delivery System. Mississippi State, Mississippi: Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision.
Kirchner, C., McBroom, L.W., Nelson, K.A., & Graves, W.H. (1992). Lifestyles of Employed Legally Blind People: A Study of Expenditures and Time Use (Technical Report). Mississippi State, Mississippi: Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision.
Maxson, B.J. & Lamb, A.M. (1991). Teaching Students who are Deaf-Blind: Observed Practices. Mississippi State, Mississippi: Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision.
McBroom, L.W., Seaman, J., & Graves, W.H. (1988). Work Assessment Instruments for the Vocational Evaluation of People with Visual Disabilities (Executive Summary). Mississippi State, Mississippi: Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision.
For Additional NRTC News and Activities:
Visit our website at http://www.blind.msstate.edu/.
This newsletter was supported in part by grant #H133B10022 from the U.S. Department of Education, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR). Newsletter contents do not represent policies of NIDRR or the Department of Education and viewers should not assume endorsement by the federal government. Please feel free to forward this newsletter to interested parties.
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