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Vocational Rehabilitation Services and college?


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Joined: Feb 20, 2005
Posts: 17
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Posted Mar 10, 2005 at 6:45:17 PM
Subject: Vocational Rehabilitation Services and college?

I'm curiouse to know if any of you folks have tried this approach to pay for your college tuition. If you have how much did they cover, and what were the requirments?

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JohnBT
Joined Mar 14, 2005
Posts: 42

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Posted:Mar 14, 2005 9:35:54 AM

Yes it's possible, but it depends... ;) Spoken like a true government worker, right? It should, I've spent 30+ years working for a state rehab agency.

It depends on which state you're in, their yearly budget and your financial eligibility, but it's certainly not out of the question. To get a definite answer you will need to contact your local state rehab agency office and apply for services. This needs to be done well in advance...many months...in order to give them time to do the eligibility work-up, including getting copies of school records, additional or updated evaluations if needed, the Federal FAF filed (and returned) and all the other stuff required by the Federal and state regs.

OTOH, if they're working under an Order of Selection due to limited funding or you are not financially eligible due to too much household income then one visit may tell you all you need to know.

Give it a try and see what happens.

John

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Joe Tag
Joined Sep 18, 2014
Posts: 102

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Posted:Apr 26, 2005 4:23:48 PM

New Jersey Div. of Vocational Rehabilitation did nothing for my
studies at Union County College or Kean University.

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1underdawg
Joined Feb 08, 2006
Posts: 12

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Posted:Feb 09, 2006 7:39:57 PM

I live in California, so I went to the CA State Dept of Rehab. But my story does not have a happy ending thus far...

I have severe ADD and MRELD. I'm sure I have some form of Dyscalculia too, but that has not been scientifically proven yet. I've struggled my entire life to finish classes in college, hold a job, and build on my life. But until my diagnosis, nothing worked.

After I got my official diagnosis at the end of 2001, I went to the Dept of Rehab office in San Jose. After making a counselor change, I finally got one who was kind enough to return my phone calls and emails. At the time I was living in the homeless programs in the south bay, and I really didn't know what I wanted to do. I came up with the brilliant idea of becoming a physical therapist, even though I had no idea how hard that would be. I'd never finished any college level courses (only remedial) and my academic history shows extremely low scores in math. But DoR didn't evaluate any of that- they just asked me to write an essay about becoming a PT and they approved my IPE (Individualized Plan for Employment).

I cannot tell you how important it is to make an informed decision on that, because once you set a plan in motion it is very hard to change it. At least that was the case with mine.

I moved out to Sacramento in the spring of 2003 and started classes at American River College that fall. I did well the first semester when the courses were easy, but the 2nd semester was harder because I went from a 3-unit pre-algebra class to a 5-unit beginning algebra class. It was hard and it took so much study time that I had to drop 2 other classes to do it. It didn't occur to me that I might have chosen the wrong career path. My English reading, comprehension and composition scores were in the upper 90s.

Things really began to fall apart in my 3rd semester when my counselor had me taking intro to chem and algebra II in the same semester. I later found out this is not advisable for anyone, let alone someone with learning challenges. By week 3 I was so lost in chem and so behind in algebra that I panicked and dropped both classes before consulting my DoR counselor. Mistake #1. DoR policy states that a client is required to notify counselor before making any major changes to their IPE.

This was in the fall of 2004 and was the beginning of the end of my case with DoR. By spring my life was in chaos. I had a violent roommate with a serious alcohol problem, and I was trying to hold down a part time job. Things were beginning to fall apart. I thought I wanted to try lobbying or public relations as a career, but I didn't do any of the interests, values, skills/aptitudes tests to see what I might be most successful at. I asked DoR if they could help me but I was told to go to the college career center. My counselor gave me a list of things to do, such as contacting and setting interview appointments with various PR firms. I was going crazy with my roommate, falling behind in work and school, and I was unable to meet the deadline with DoR. When I missed an appointment with my counselor, she sent me a letter saying they were closing my case.

To make a long story short, I got someone to advocate for me from the legal services office here in Sacramento. She was present with me at my hearing with DoR, but shortly after I received the letter telling me my case had been closed. I asked my advocate if I should appeal, but she advised me it would too difficult and time-consuming and I should just apply at another office. I did, but not until summer of last year because I was so discouraged and worn out from the whole ordeal. That was almost a year ago.

Today the new office of DoR still has not given me an answer. They are supposed to give an applicant a yes or no answer within 60 of the application. It's been 5 months now. I've called and called, but I keep getting the run-around. My advocate quit and no longer works there, but a new advocate called me and wants to help. She told me to call them and find out what's going on, but that was two weeks ago. Meanwhile, I dropped all my classes for the 2nd consecutive semester and this semester I'm completely out of school for the first time since I moved here in 2003. I'm so angry about what happened, I can't begin to put it into words.

In hindsight, I find it incredible that my counselor back in San Jose would commit State funds for a period of no less than 4 years of schooling to a man who had severe learning disabilities, lived in a homeless shelter, and had a history of academic failure, not to mention dramatically low scores in math and sciences, the two most important course-paths for a medical career, and they did this without so much as investigating or evaluating my choice of PT. They just said okay.

When I realized my mistake and tried to change it, they only complicated my life more and then closed my case when I was unable to comply. I'm so angry about it I'm even in the process of seeking legal representation to recoup financial losses for unnecessary finincial hardships and pain and suffering. The fall of last year was one of the darkest periods of my life, since I felt as if I was fighting a losing cause, despite being legally entitled to the support I was being denied. Not only did they slam the door on me, but my counselor said some of the most insulting and inappropriate things to me along the way, and I've spent many a night tossing and turning with thoughts of her agonizing demise running through my head again and again... I don't think of myself as a hateful person, but I admit to feeling a deep hatred towards this woman.

My story is not over. I am gathering my energy and reserves to go back into the battle, only this time I'm getting some powerful allies to fight with me. Meanwhile, I've had to go back to work full time but since middle of December last year I've yet to find anything that lasts more than a week or two. I live alone, have no girlfriend, no family in the area, no children or wife... I'm all alone. Sometimes I feel like the entire weight of the world is on my shoulders.

That's my experience with Dept of Rehab in Sacramento, CA.

Hope that helps.

Cheers

"This will be the worst disaster NASA has ever experienced!" Arnie Aldrich, Director of Flight Operations "With all due respect, Sir: I believe this will be our finest hour!" Gene Kranz, Apollo 13 Flight Director; from Apollo 13, the movie.

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Sue
Joined Jun 14, 2003
Posts: 1845

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Posted:Feb 11, 2006 6:39:08 PM

Whew.... keep on plugging!!!! I agree, it's egregious that they didn't consider the likelihood of success in a highly competitive, academically rigorous, stressladen field. THey shoulda been bending over backwards to make good on their mistake... oh, but that's real business, not the guvmint.

Several students who work with me are having their expenses paid for by Rehab. We have full-time advocates who work with students to make sure they make those connections. However, it's not going to pay for all of it for any of 'em, I don't think. (I will give 'em credit, though, I"ve been called to consult on the appropriateness of career directions because I work closely with students.)

Champaign-Urbana IL is a reasonably good place for such things.

Sue J, webmastress www.resourceroom.net

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1underdawg
Joined Feb 08, 2006
Posts: 12

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Posted:Feb 13, 2006 9:10:23 PM

Sue, thank you for your kind words. Yes, I am discouraged about the whole ordeal for the moment; however, I have not yet begun to fight! (where have I heard that before?)

You mentioned you work with several students who are utilizing their state's rehab services, but you did not mention their age ranges. I say that because I'm wondering if the age of a "student" can influence to any degree the level of commitment or participation from any of the supporting agencies.

I don't know if it's just me or there is some truth to this, but it seems as though there is an unspoken law when it comes to adults with LD getting help with their efforts to become educated. Again, this could just be my conspiracy-theorist brain going rampant, but I'm wondering if agencies just don't invest as much effort into helping an LD adult's rehabilitation once they reach a certain age. I call it the "grown up puppy syndrom", because it's human nature to feel compassion for puppies, kittens, and children because of their sense of helplessness and their cuddly "cuteness factor". But grown up dogs, cats, adults... tend to get neglected. Look at all the animals at the pound who are euthanized every year- almost all of them are adult animals, and the ones that are lucky enough to find loving homes are almost always still in the infancy stage (e.g. still cuddly and cute).

Btw, I have theories on just about any aspect of society in case anyone wants to know...

Still, I get the feeling that people in general just expect you to have your "act" together by the time you reach 40. And if you don't... well, there's plenty of jails and mental institutions who will be glad to house and feed you.

I need a coach, and I need an advocate. I don't need someone to supervise my every move, but I do need someone who will "check in" with me to help monitor my progress. Making life-management changes is what I need to be successful, but doing it alone doesn't seem to be working. I wonder why...

Please continue to offer your insights and advice. I am truly grateful.

Ollin

"This will be the worst disaster NASA has ever experienced!" Arnie Aldrich, Director of Flight Operations "With all due respect, Sir: I believe this will be our finest hour!" Gene Kranz, Apollo 13 Flight Director; from Apollo 13, the movie.

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Sue
Joined Jun 14, 2003
Posts: 1845

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Posted:Feb 16, 2006 1:57:18 PM

One of 'em is 41, another was in his 30's I think (could have been older)... but in both cases there was some kind of "new" information. (a late diagnosis in one case, an injury in the other - the injury not related to the LD issues). But - you've also got that "new" dx (2001 isn't that long ago).
I can honestly say the DoR guys that I've worked with would have tried pretty hard to dissuade you from going for PT training! I think their statistics get looked at differently - they don't get smiles from the check-writers for Serving X number of People... their check writers want to know how many people they have served are now working and employed. (We do have some of the turnover problems, though.)
Sounds like you have allies - therefore, you're not alone. I mean, sometimes those personal assessments all depend on how you spin them. DOn't feed the negative and the hate, and they don't grow as fast :=)

Sue J, webmastress www.resourceroom.net

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