BACKGROUND: The provision of assistive technology (AT) services could help people with disabilities overcome social and environmental barriers in the workplace to facilitate employment outcomes. However, little is known about the types of consumers who receive assistive technology services and who can most benefit from the services in vocational rehabilitation (VR). OBJECTIVE: This study investigated the characteristics of consumers receiving AT services in state VR agencies and identified complementary VR services associated with the provision of AT services. METHODS: A 10 random sample of VR consumers (N=32,088) whose cases were closed in fiscal year 2009 (FY 2009) were extracted from the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) database for a secondary data analysis multivariate logistic regression. RESULTS: Only 10.4 of VR consumers closed in FY 2009 received AT services. The majority of AT recipients reported sensory impairments (60.4) and physical impairments (27.6). Consumers older than 65 years of age (odds ratio [OR]=1.43; 95 confidence intervals [CI]: 1.18-1.74), with associate's degrees (OR=1.27; 95 CI: 1.15-1.41) and bachelor's degrees or higher (OR=1.77; 95 CI: 1.55-2.01), reporting sensory impairments (OR=3.78; 95 CI: 3.39-4.21), receiving cash benefits (OR=1.44; 95 CI: 1.29-1.60) and being employed at the time of application (OR=1.79; 95 CI: 1.62-1.98) were more likely to receive AT services. Compared to European Americans, African American (OR=0.77; 95 CI: 0.69-0.87) and Hispanic Americans (OR=0.84; 95 CI: 0.73-0.98) were less likely to receive AT services. Moreover, AT recipients were more likely to also obtain comprehensive assessment (OR=1.49; 95 CI: 1.38 to 1.66), college or university training (OR=1.56; 95 CI: 1.38 to 1.76), occupational or vocational training (OR=1.20; 95 CI: 1.05 to 1.37), augmentative skills training (OR=2.48; 95 CI: 2.09 to 2.94), and miscellaneous training (OR=1.47; 95 CI: 1.30 to 1.66); but less likely to obtain job readiness training (OR=0.75; 95 CI: 0.64 to 0.87) and job search assistance (OR=0.87; 95 CI: 0.76 to 0.99). CONCLUSION: The results provide insights into AT recipients in the state VR system. VR professionals and practitioners need to be aware of AT devices and job accommodation services as resources for people with disabilities to increase employability. Further consideration should be given to developing a systematic understanding of the provision of AT services in the VR system and evaluating its effectiveness.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Occupational Therapy