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From: Disability Impact on Career Employment

Analyze That: Including Disability in the Career Development Equation

By Denise Feltham 

Many vocational assessments have been developed to identify aptitudes, interests, values, work-related attitudes, and even barriers to employment. These vary in focus, complexity and cost, and selecting appropriate assessments for clients can be a challenging task. Choice can be circumscribed by agency mandate, funding, and the academic as well as developmental level of the participant. 

Disability Impact on Career and Employment 

As a person with a disability, and in my previous professional role as an employment counsellor, I became aware of the gap created between vocational assessment and job placement when the impact of a person’s disability on their career options and work performance is not taken into account, and when the significance of necessary workplace accommodations is not understood. 

As a result, I developed a self-assessment tool called Disability Impact on Career/Employment (D.I.C.E.). This tool factors disability issues into the job placement equation so that a more realistic employment goal can be developed, thereby improving the odds for workplace success. 

D.I.C.E. is available to people with disabilities of all types. Through a process of reflection and self discovery, it helps the participant to clarify a number of issues:

This self assessment tool, which can be accessed online, is designed using a multiple choice format to gather, pertinent information in a relatively short period of time. It takes approximately 2 to 4 hours to complete, depending on the complexity of the situation and stamina of the participant. I then synthesize and analyze the raw data to produce a personalized report based on the participant's unique situation. 

The premise of D.I.C.E. is that the participant is the best judge of the impact of his/her condition. This is different from the medical model in which the clinician is presumed to know more than the patient. 

The accuracy of a D.I.C.E. assessment will therefore be influenced by the following factors:

The Interplay of Career Exploration Components 

Successful career exploration takes into account the interplay among aptitudes, interests, values, personality and employment barriers. Selection of appropriate vocational assessments will depend on which pieces of this puzzle are missing. This information can then be compared with the employability dimensions -- career choice, skill competencies, job search, and job maintenance -- that are preventing the client from career fulfillment. 

Vocational assessment tools are just that -- tools. They are descriptive rather than prescriptive. The results have to fit right with the client, and in the end, only the client can decide on his/her best career path.


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