Conference Description

The 5th biennial Region X Symposium on Rehabilitation and Deafness was held in Seattle, Washington, April 21-23, 1999 at the Best Western Executive Inn.  The theme was 'Partners in the Process: Improving Employment and Education Outcomes'. The 3-day conference targets professionals who seek to improve education, employment, and independent living outcomes for individuals who are Deaf, Late Deafened, Hard of Hearing, or Deaf-Blind.

The program addressed three broad areas that continue to pose challenges for education and rehabilitation professionals: 1) traditionally underserved special populations, 2) postsecondary environments, and 3) transition into the workplace. The 18 break-out sessions were developed around these strands and included: setting up the communication environment for individuals who are deaf blind; the Client Choice project; surfing the web for career success; rural outreach; school-to-work initiatives; substance abuse counseling; and providing services to clients who are hard of hearing. In  addition to the workshop sessions, the conference will also featured a Resource Fair of technology exhibits.

With the theme of partnering in mind, the conference addressed the recent reauthorization of the Rehabilitation Act. The reauthorization calls for each state to develop an interagency agreement among all relevant state agencies (including higher education and vocational rehabilitation) which maps out a plan for the delivery of service and assigns responsibility. Frederic Schroeder, commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration, was on-hand via teleconference to address issues relative to this reauthorization.

Ramon Rodriguez of the US Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services emceed the event. Keynote speakers included David Bolnick, Accessibility Program Manager for Microsoft Corporation, and Jeanne Kincaid, esq. and Jane Jarrow, both well-known leaders in disability rights advocacy.

Conference proceedings will be produced by the Northwest Outreach Center, and made available through the PEPNet Resource Center.

Proceedings of Concurrent Sessions

Proceeding papers will be linked to this website as they are received. Click on the links below to view the session papers. A big THANK YOU to session presenters for sharing their work with us!

Wednesday, April 21

  • Surfing the Web for Career Success
  • (PDF)
    Terri Goldstein, Technical Assistance, Western Region Outreach Center & Consortia; & Jennifer Olson, WorkAbility IV Coordinator, California State University, Northridge

    Most service providers are familiar with traditional job search methods, however, many are not up-to-date on the value and uses of the internet in the employment process.  The World Wide Web provides a wealth of accessible information on developing job seeking skills, finding job listings, as well as posting and submitting electronic resumes.  This session will provide both the technically challenged and the technically savvy with tools for working with students on career issues utilizing current technologies.  Learn where the "hot sites" are located, how to find a job on the web, develop an electronic resume and other vital resources.

  • Living with Hearing Loss: Career development and work experiences for persons who are hard of hearing

  • Carren Stikka, Rehabilitation Research and Training Center for Persons who are Hard of Hearing or Late Deafened, San Diego, CA

    Research indicates that hearing loss-even a moderate hearing loss-can and often does have a major impact on the individual's employment status. In an effort to understand better the consequences of hearing loss in the work place, the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center for Persons who are Hard of Hearing or Late Deafened conducted a series of focus groups with individuals who are Hard of Hearing. This presentation will summarize the results of these focus groups and offer recommendations for improving the employment status of this underserved and largely misunderstood population.

  • Project Deaf Prep: A retention and transition option for deaf and hard-of-hearing students

  • Lindsey Antle & Paula George, Pikes Peak Community College, Colorado Springs, CO

    Pikes Peak Community College in Colorado Springs, Colorado, is a HUB program of the Western Region Outreach Center and Consortia. The college, in conjunction with local school districts, Vocational Rehabilitation, the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind, Pikes Peak Mental Health Center and the Pikes Peak Center on Deafness, has developed a four-semester transition program for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing students and adults. This transition program provides instruction in English, Mathematics, Study Skills, Critical Thinking, American Sign Language and Resource Management in a community college (adult) environment.  Classes are taught by Deaf instructors and are conducted in sign language. The presentation will outline the development process for this program, as well as discuss the component classes.

  • Successful Transition: It is a partnership!

  • Trevor J. Storrs, SLC Coordinator, The ARC of Anchorage; & Alan Cartwright, Director, Center for Deaf Adults, Anchorage, AK

    Successful transition requires partnerships. In the State of Alaska, we have linked ourselves together, pooling our limited resources, to ensure the highest level of success for students that transition out of secondary school. This partnership has allowed us the ability to identify consistent patterns that develop in our target populations, devise goals and objectives to address these patterns, and create a plan that supports students as they move into the community. We will share with you our system of partnerships, and use ourselves as a model to demonstrate how it can be achieved in your community.

  • Beyond Hearing Aids: Increasing employment outcomes for hard-of-hearing and late-deafened clients

  • Melita Green, VR Counselor, Vocational Rehabilitation Division, Eugene OR; & Sheila Hitchen, VR Counselor Specialist, Vocational Rehabilitation Division, Portland, OR

    This is a unique training opportunity for general caseload counselors, counselor assistants, community service providers, and anyone new to working with hard-of-hearing and late-deafened clientele. Experienced service providers will also find this workshop a good refresher and an excellent way to update their knowledge of recent technological advances in the field. Hard-of-Hearing and Late-Deafened clients do not use sign language, but rely primarily upon hearing, speech reading, speech and written communication. Technology, beyond hearing aids, enables hard-of-hearing and late-deafened clients to enter new jobs or maintain employment. This workshop will provide information and hands-on demonstrations of current technology available fo ruse in the workplace. Practical suggestions for serving this population will be given by VR counselors who specialize in services to Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Oregonians.

  • "Pah! I'm in College...Now What?" A video to assist Disability Services providers in Deaf Student Orientations

  • Martha Smith & Cheryl Davis, Western Oregon University, Monmouth, OR

    Many times Deaf students who are new to college life are not aware that procedures for receiving services are different from what they were accustomed to in high school. As a result, both students and service providers may become frustrated by what each perceives to be a lack of cooperation and understanding on the other's part. This session focused on information and policies to be relayed to Deaf students concerning accessing services in postsecondary settings. The new video developed at Western for Deaf student orientations entitled "Pah! I'm in College...Now What?" was viewed. Presented in sign language with voice overs and open captioning, this video is useful in Deaf Student Orientations to encourage discussion on a variety of topics Disability Services providers must introduce to new students, such as how to request services, policy issues, and the appropriate use of interpreters. It introduces the topics in a general way, leaving room for individual institutions to tailor the discussions to suit their own needs.


Thursday, April 22

  • The Reasonable Accommodation Process
  • (PPT)
    John P. Evans, CRC; Reasonable Accommodation Specialist, WA State Department of Personnel, Olympia, WA

    It is unlawful for a covered entity to deny access, effective communication and employment opportunities to an otherwise qualified applicant, student or employee with a disability based on the need of such covered entity to make reasonable accommodation. This breakout session serves to educate participants on the obligations and responsibilities of the covered entity, employee, student or applicant.  Key concepts to be covered include posting notification,  voluntary disclosure, qualification standards, confidential records keeping, qualified individual/disability; requesting accommodations, reasonable accommodation process, good faith effort, undue hardship and direct threat.

  • The Deaf-Blind Community

  • Carol Brown-Wollin & Jelica Nuccio, Seattle Deaf Blind Service Center, Seattle, WA

    This presentation introduces the audience to the Deaf-Blind community in Seattle. It is interactive to help audience members experience what it is like to be deaf-blind, and to be exposed to deaf-blind culture. The audience will take home useful information on 1) deaf-blind experience; 2) brief etiology on deaf-blindness; 3) general guiding tips; 4) common types of communication; 5) employment obstacles; and 6) accomplishments in daily life.

  • Shaping the Future for Deaf Youth through School-to-Work Initiatives

  • Glenn Anderson & Susan McGee, Research and Training Center for Persons who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, Little Rock, AR

    Many of our students, including those who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, are leaving school unprepared for the jobs available in today's workforce. The demands of the workplace are changing, and the educational system, both at the secondary and college level, needs to embrace new visions and strategies to prepare our students for employment. This presentation focused on one promising vision: The National School to Work Initiative. Examples of model school to work programs were discussed. Input from the audience was solicited concerning individual experiences related to the connection between school and the workplace.

  • Roundtable Discussion for Deaf Employment Specialists

  • Donna Platt & Janel Stromme, Placement Specialists; Hearing, Speech, & Deafness Center, Seattle, WA

    This roundtable discussion provided an opportunity for Deaf employment specialists to: a) share their accomplishments and frustrations in assisting Deaf, Deaf-Blind and Hard of Hearing people with their job seeking skills and in making contacts with employers for job placement;
    b) provide and receive support from other Deaf employment specialists; and c) develop a working network with other Deaf employment specialists.
  • Creating a Communication Environment for Deaf-Blind People that Works!

  • Paula Hoffman, Mark Landreneau, Cherie Furtado, Susan Hamm, Terry Dockter, Lighthouse for the Blind, Seattle, WA

    Many times initial interactions with Deaf-Blind people and vocational rehabilitation counselors or other professionals fall apart, simply because the communication environment was not designed in a way in which meaningful communication can take place. This presentation will involve actually setting up a communication space that will be used for a small group class. Co-presenters and the audience will discuss and design the space, which will then be critiqued by Deaf-Blind consumers. The audience will learn the essential ingredients and materials needed to create an effective communication environment for a one on one or group situation.

  • The ABCs of ALDs
  • (PPT)
    Cheryl Davis, Martha Smith, Northwest Outreach Center, Western Oregon University, Monmouth, OR

    For many, many hard-of-hearing students, depending on hearing aids and speech reading will not be enough to survive the communication-laden environments of college and work. However, service providers and students alike are often unaware of the great benefit assistive listening devices can provide. This session provided hands-on experience with a variety of ALDs, and provided information on troublshooting, proper use, and how to avoid problems. (Note: this presentation was an abbreviated version of the Demystifying Assistive Listening Devices module previously developed by Davis.)


Friday, April 23

  • Alaska Statewide Rural Outreach Vocational Rehabilitation Program

  • Darrell Campbell, Doug Cluff, ROVR Coordinators, Alaska Center for Deaf Adults, Anchorage, AK & Pat Hamon, ROVR Coordinator, Deaf Community Services, Fairbanks, AK

    The goal of the Rural Outreach Vocational Rehabilitation (ROVR) Program is to expand and improve the delivery of vocational rehabilitation services to rural deaf individuals in Alaska, and to improve the successful outcomes of provision of vocational rehabilitation to this target population. The target population is severely disabled, traditionally underserved group of primarily Alaska Native deaf adults. ROVR consists a program director and three outreach coordinators within Alaska Center for Deaf Adults in Anchorage, Deaf Community Services in Fairbanks and Southeast Alaska Independent Living in Juneau. The ROVR program also collaborates with the Alaska Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and Tribal Vocational Rehabilitation in statewide Alaska.

  • Identifying and Assessing Substance Abuse Problems with Deaf, Deafened, and Hard of Hearing Individuals

  • Debra Guthmann, Project Director, Minnesota Chemical Dependency Program for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Individuals

    Service providers who work with Deaf, Deafened and Hard-of-Hearing individuals encounter issues that may be related to the person's use of alcohol and/or other drugs.  Identification and assessment of substance abuse problems present difficulties since there are no formalized tools designed to use with this population.  Participants received an overview of substance abuse issues and were introduced to a unique chemical dependency tool.  Through the use of lecture, discussion, case studies and small group work, participants became more familiar with how to identify these issues.

  • Freshman Experience Seminar: How to make it work!
  • (PPT)
    Robert Sidansky, Coordinator of Student Personnel Services, National Center on Deafness, Northridge, CA

    The National Center on Deafness at California State University, Northridge, is one of many postsecondary programs around the country that offers an intensive course for first time freshmen's introduced to the college experience. This course has been designed to assist the new students in their transition to college from high school and to help them to get and use the tools they will need to make their college years successful.  It is anticipated that participation in this course will help to improve the retention rate among these students.  The National Center on Deafness was given the authority to design and teach a section of this course to deaf and hard of hearing students in order to make sure it would fit their communication and modality needs.

  • Client Choice Program

  • Corinna McInteer, VR Counselor, Vocational Rehabilitation Division, Roseburg, OR; Vicki DeForest and
    Brenda Nulty, Vocational Rehabilitation Division, Eugene, OR

    Seven pilot projects on Client Choice were conducted throughout the U.S.  Our ideas for our own Client Choice project were gleaned from information developed by these seven pilot projects, especially Vermont's DHR Client Choice project.  The concept embraces accountability and education in a teaching/coaching model as opposed to the traditional VRD practice and the medical model.
    The Client Choice Program fits nicely with the reauthorization of the Rehabilitation Act as the act provides informed choice and encourages clients to choose vendors. The session provided practical ways to implement choice and as well as successful examples of Client Choice programs and informed choice including accessibility information for deaf services.
  • Identifying the Technical Assistance Needs of Community-based Agencies Serving Persons who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

  • Steven Boone & Douglas Watson, Research and Training Center for Persons who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, Little Rock, AR

    This session presented the results of a national survey of community based programs that provide employment preparation, placement  and related services to underserved special populations of persons who are deaf or hard of hearing.  Conducted by the University of Arkansas Rehabilitation Research and Training Center for Persons who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, the survey was designed to be parallel to the needs assessment of postsecondary programs conducted by PEPNet.  Results, based on responses of a national sampling of 969 programs, include a description of the populations served and the employment outcomes of these services.  Key needs of those programs serving deaf, late  deafened, hard of hearing, deaf-blind, and low functioning deaf were described.  Strategies to meet these needs by developing a national technical assistance network to assist these programs were explored.

  • Legal issues...with Jeanne Kincaid, Esq.

    This session was a question and answer workshop only. No proceedings will be available.

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