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Vocational Rehabilitation Service Models
for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders
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Vocational Rehabilitation Service Models for
Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders

January 28, 2009, 2:00 PM (CST)

About the Webcast

This presentation will introduce SEDL's new project on Vocational Rehabilitation Service Models for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders. The project is a partnership with the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities at the University of Central Florida (UCF CARD). It focuses on improving vocational rehabilitation (VR) and transition services for persons with autism and related disorders, which are known as autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). The initiative is important due to the fact that rates of ASD are increasing, while employment rates for people with disabilities are declining. People with ASD experience even lower employment rates than other persons with disabilities.

Project goals include building new knowledge and understanding, on-the-ground changes within the VR system, and increased employment among persons with ASDs. Research activities include conducting two systematic reviews, implementing a rigorous process for identifying and validating vocational rehabilitation best practices, producing cases studies of individuals with ASD and their families, and studying the statewide network of CARD centers in Florida.

About the Presenters

John D. Westbrook, PhD, is Program Manager of SEDL's Disability Research to Practice (DRP) Program and serves as Director of SEDL's Vocational Rehabilitation Service Models for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders and of the NCDDR. He has been at SEDL for over 25 years where he has worked to develop a comprehensive process for assuring the translation and utilization of information within disability-oriented organizations, as documented in The Provision of Technical Assistance in Vocational Rehabilitation (University of Wisconsin-Stout, 1989). He also worked for the Texas Dept. of MH/MR and served as a consultant to the Texas Education Agency.

Bill Palmer is a National Advisory Panel member for the VR Service Models for Individuals with ASD project. He has been Director of Florida's Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Department of Education, since May 2005. He previously served the state of Washington for six years as director of the Department of Services for the Blind. Mr. Palmer has a strong foundation in Human Resource Management and has worked in a wide variety of positions for more than 20 years.

Frank H. Martin, PhD, has been a Program Associate with SEDL's DRP since 2004. He works with SEDL's new project focusing on VR service models for individuals with autism, as well as the NCDDR.  His areas of interest include multicultural special education, disability, and rehabilitation counseling.

Chad Nye, PhD, is Executive Director of CARD and Professor at UCF, College of Health and Public Affairs. Dr. Nye has over 20 years of experience in the area of meta-analysis and systematic review of intervention evidence in the area of disability. He is also a Co-chair of the Education Coordinating Group of the international Campbell Collaboration.

Karen Wesley, MEd, is Coordinator of Adult Services at UCF-CARD. She will oversee VR activities to provide job development and placement services for CARD constituents referred by Florida's Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. She has worked as a supported employment consultant, and monitored contracts for employment programs and provided training to agency staff in six Florida counties.

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This webcast is supported through the National Center for the Dissemination of Disability Research (NCDDR), which is funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) in the U.S. Department of Education, and is supported in part by ILRU. The opinions and views expressed are those of the presenters and no endorsement by the funding agency should be inferred.