In 1989 the Nebraska Vocational Rehabilitation Agency developed a Disability Handbook for its VR counselors. Various authors from Nebraska VR and the Region 7 Rehabilitation Continueng Education Program (RCEP - now part of Disability Policy & Studies) at the University of Missouri contributed chapters on different disabilities, with Nebraska's Dennis Dunn and Don Crouch supervising and organizing the final effort. Each entry described a disability, listed its implications for VR services, and gave suggestions on VR issues to consider.
The book was written only for Nebraska VR counselors, but it soon became widely popular, with orders coming in from around the country. Although copies of this book are still available, the RCEP office was not able to update it to match changes in the procedures and philosophy of VR since the original was written in the late 1980s. In the summer of 2000, Don Crouch approached the RCEP about producing an updated version - the Handbook of Disabilities.
Don worked with Scott Standifer and Debbie Keenan of the RCEP staff, laying out an updated format and list of disabilities. The list of disabilities was, in turn, based on state and national VR data on the disabilities most frequently reported by VR counselors regarding their clients. In the fall of 2000,the RCEP hosted a focus group of VR counselors in Kansas City to provide further input. The focus group reviewed the writing style, format, and list of disabilities. Discussions of how the earlier reference book was actually used in the field by VR counselors provided additional suggestions on useful features for the new book.
Scott Standifer is the lead author on the project, ensuring that all the entries have the same writing style, format, and types of information. Melissa Griggs, Debbie Keenan, and Don Crouch are contributing authors. Research for the book uses traditional reference texts, medically authoritative websites, and websites of disability advocacy groups. VR counselors, disability activists, and a physician review the entries.
Features of the book include:
The Handbook is now being distributed exclusively through this website. There are not printed editions available, although several state agencies have been given permission to print their own copies for internal use. The completed entries are posted here.
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