Rehabilitation technology assists you in overcoming barriers to employment
Our rehabilitation engineers provide consultation, individual assessment, and design and fabrication to assist you in overcoming barriers at home and at work.
A job-site evaluation identifies any problems that relate to worksite accessibility or your ability to perform specific tasks.
Recommendations are provided for appropriate technology that will raise your productivity and quality of life, a benefit to you and your employer.
The addition of a mobility device, such as a wheelchair or scooter, can improve both comfort and productivity on the job.
To reduce transportation related barriers, rehabilitation engineers may recommend vehicle evaluations, training and modifications that will help you get to work and provide you with a new level of independence.
If you have a significant sensory impairment, such as difficulty hearing on the phone, assistive devices may be recommended that will increase your potential for employment.
Using information technology is crucial to job preparedness and job search.
Adaptive devices and alternative methods of input can increase your productivity and marketability.
A home evaluation may also be provided to identify barriers to employment or independence, such as a lack of grab-bars in restrooms, narrow doorways, or access to entrance and exit doors.
Business networking and VR teamwork lead to success
Brian Denny didn’t think he could go back to work after he sustained a high level spinal cord injury (C3-C4).
Unable to move his upper or lower body, Brian uses a power wheelchair that he manipulates by blowing into a straw-like device called a sip and puff. It takes patience and determination, something that Brian has in great supply.
“Brian was hurt on the job while he was working at a building supply company,” recalls Niki Ostrander, his counselor when Brian came to VR to apply for services.
“Brian was very anxious to get started with the program,” she says. “He was unsure what he would be able to do but he knew that he could do more than he was.”
Through solid networking and Skilled Workforce Apprenticeship Training (SWAT) opportunity, Brian was hired as a sales representative at Guardian Fence Suppliers in Columbia.
“Brian and I met over the next few weeks,” recalls Guardian Fence owner Reggie Murphy, “and came up with a plan that we both thought would help Brian ease back into the workplace at a comfortable pace.”
The position would require both data entry and phone work. Joe Anthony, a member of VR’s Rehabilitation Technology team, met with Brian and together they came up with a list of tools Brian would need to succeed.
This included an adjustable height desk, phone system, adjustable laptop riser, and a mouth stick mounted to his desk which Brian uses with an iPad to control the laptop and phone.
During the second half of Brian’s apprenticeship, Weston decided to bring in a customer relationship management (CRM) software package called Zoho.
“I didn’t know how to use it myself, but I immediately recognized its potential to increase our business,” he explains. “Brian ate it up.” Weston realized that Brian knew the software better than anybody. “So I asked him to be my ‘Zoho Czar.’”
This opportunity led to Brian’s promotion to a sales management position at Guardian. “Now I’m training the staff how to use the program.” Brian is also getting ready to start a program where he will make sales calls to customers that have not been active, generating new business, explains Weston.
VR’s SWAT and Rehabilitation Technology gave Weston the chance to see what Brian could do and alleviated his fears about hiring Brian.