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Rehabilitation is a multi-dimensional long drawn process- it includes training, education and therapeutic management of persons with disabilities to restore their physical, mental, emotional, social and vocational usefulness as per their capabilities. Rehabilitation workers/personnel play an important role in empowering and ensuring the full participation of people with disabilities.
There are several types of disabilities which require the service of rehabilitation professionals. Disabilities are generally categorized as physical impairments i.e any disability which limits the physical function of limbs or fine or gross motor ability; sensory disabilities such as Blindness, Low Vision, Hearing Impairment etc, developmental disabilities such as Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation, Down syndrome etc and mental disorders. These disabilities may be resulting from birth defects, illness, disease, accidents, or the stress of daily life.
People affected with different types of disabilities need different rehabilitation measures or aids & appliances for their functional freedom and mobility, such as medical intervention, therapeutic exercises, education in special schools or inclusive settings, vocational training and employment etc. Each individual faces unique challenge in overcoming their particular disability- rehabilitation workers offer emotional support and professional guidance to each one according to their needs. Rehabilitation counselors may also provide general and specialized counseling to people with disabilities in public human service programs and private practice settings.
In the past, rehabilitation workers primarily served working-age adults with disabilities. Today, the need for rehabilitation extends to persons of all age groups who have disabilities.
But every rehabilitation service professional cannot be trained in dealing with all of these varied disabilities in different age groups. So while considering a career in this field, one has to consider what category of people they are interested to work with, such as people with mental disability, physical disability, anti social behaviour and so on.
A rehabilitation worker identifies the client's specific difficulties and develops a plan of action to remove or reduce the barriers the client faces. The first step is to determine the nature and extent of the disability and evaluate how that disability interferes with work and other life functions. This determination is made from medical and psychological reports as well as from family history, educational background, work experience, and other evaluative information. The next step is to determine a vocational direction and plan of services to overcome the handicaps to employment or independent living. The rehabilitation counselor or worker coordinates a comprehensive evaluation of a client's physical functioning abilities and vocational interests, aptitudes, and skills. They deal with the whole person and work with each client to develop an individualized rehabilitation plan including training to increase the individual's capacity to live independently, and in many cases help to develop job skills, obtain jobs, and be included in the community.
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