In order to support the job accommodation process, part of this may involve vocational rehabilitation. Vocational rehabilitation can explore a range of cognitive and work skills, resulting in recommendations that are focused on strengths and areas for support, as well as potential barriers and solutions for successful employment.
Throughout the return to work discussions, the employer can suggest vocational rehabilitation to the employee as a part of the accommodation assessment process. Having an opportunity to receive this support will not only demonstrate the employer’s commitment to a successful return to work process, it will also provide the employee an opportunity to concretely articulate their accommodation needs with respect to any limitations they may be experiencing.
With a range of customized services available, vocational rehabilitation can provide comprehensive evaluation, as well as situation assessments which can be carried out either by on-the-job assessments or in a simulated environment under expert direction.
Examples of assessment areas include, but are not limited to:
- Neurocognitive and/or psychological assessments, which consider attention span, visual perception, language and communication, memory, executive functioning, psycho-social factors, and motor skills
- Physical/functional assessments, which consider residual strength, balance, and endurance
Additionally, situational assessments can evaluate the ability of the individual to perform specific job tasks, along with overall return to work readiness.
Vocational evaluation/assessments and transferable skills analysis can be achieved in a one-to-one setting with a provider who is experienced in working with those who have a brain injury. This process will include a comprehensive review of key factors including, but not limited to:
- An individual’s education
- Training and work experience
- Aptitudes for work and objectively gauging current vocational interests.
Where possible, the evaluation can also be expanded to include the employee’s supervisor. This approach provides first hand, real-world feedback, which in turn will assist in discussions around accommodation in the workplace, including possible modification(s) of the working environment and job duties.
Some acquired brain injury support groups, Employee Assistance programs, workplace Health & Safety committees, and other networks may offer vocational rehabilitation. If this is of interest to you for your employee, you can carry out some research, and contact your vocational rehabilitation provider.
If you do not have this service available through your workplace, there are vocational rehabilitation services across the country which support the public.