As of 10/1/2017, this manual has been retired. For current policies, procedures, and standards for the Texas Workforce Commission Vocational Rehabilitation Division, please refer to the following manuals:

In this manual, references to DARS now refer to TWC. The manual includes both links to public content and links to content available only to staff.

Chapter 37: Vocational Rehabilitation Teacher

(Revised 01/09, 11/14, 10/15, 07/16)

37.1 Role of the Vocational Rehabilitation Teacher

(Revised 11/14)

Our agency aims to help Texans who are blind or visually impaired to live as independently as possible and to acquire or maintain employment.

The vocational rehabilitation teacher (VRT):

An employment lifestyle includes the skills and alternative techniques the consumer needs to function confidently, efficiently, and independently in the work, home, and community environments.

The VRT may work with:

37.2 VRT Employment Assistance Services

(Revised 11/14, 12/15)

The services of a vocational rehabilitation teacher (VRT) support the consumer's ability to find employment. VRT services require coordination with the vocational rehabilitation counselor (VRC) through all phases of the rehabilitation process, particularly during the eligibility and comprehensive assessment phases.

37.2.1 Eligibility Decision

The services of a vocational rehabilitation teacher (VRT) contribute to the eligibility decision by helping the consumer and vocational rehabilitation counselor (VRC) assess the consumer's employability and identify the consumer's independent living (IL) and work-related needs.

37.2.2 Pre-eligibility Trial Work

The services of a vocational rehabilitation teacher (VRT) contribute to the eligibility decision, particularly when an applicant meets the first three eligibility criteria (seeChapter 3: Eligibility, 3.2 Eligibility Criteria for VR Services), but has a disability that is a substantial impediment to employment and is severe enough that the vocational rehabilitation counselor (VRC) cannot presume that the consumer would benefit from vocational rehabilitation (VR) services.

If the VRC has reason to doubt that the consumer can benefit from VR services, the VRC must use the pre-eligibility trial work process to obtain the information needed to make an eligibility decision.

VRT services during pre-eligibility trial work include:

The VRT has the option to:

Note: A consumer's case can be closed due to the severity of the consumer's disability only if there is clear and convincing evidence that he or she is not capable of finding employment, including supported employment. The information documented by the VRT is vital to this process.

37.2.3 Comprehensive Assessment

The VRT's assessment results in training recommendations. These recommendations provide critical information to the VRC and consumer in the development of the consumer's IPE. This information can be used to determine

The VRT's assessment focuses on three primary areas of VRT services:

37.2.4 Vocational Rehabilitation Teacher Services

Vocational Rehabilitation Teacher (VRTs) provide a wide array of services to consumers in the six core skill areas below.

Vocational Services

(Revised 11/10, 11/14)

The VRT

Adjustment to Blindness

The VRT assists the consumer in being

Employment Lifestyle for Daily Activities

(Revised 11/10, 11/14)

The VRT helps the consumer to master the alternative and nonvisual daily activity skills that he or she needs to function independently at work, in the community, and at home.

Travel Skills

(Revised 11/10, 11/14)

The VRT

All other O&M training needs should be addressed by an O&M specialist. O&M services promote independent travel skills for persons who are blind or visually impaired. O&M training prepares consumers to travel independently with competence and confidence. Orientation refers to the process of applying the available senses to establish a consumer's position and relationship within the environment. Mobility is the act of moving in the environment with the use of an established tool to aid in travel. Tools include white canes, dog guides, and electronic travel aids.

Note: When coordinating a mini training with Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center (CCRC) Outreach, the VRT can assist with outreach direction. Outreach mini trainings focus on attitude adjustment rather than skills mastery.

Communication

(Revised 11/10, 11/14)

The VRT assists the consumer in developing

Tech Screener Services

(Added 11/10, revised 11/14, 07/16)

Tech screeners are VRTs and rehabilitation assistants (RAs) who have received tech- screener training that has been provided or approved by the VRT program specialist. Tech screeners assist consumers who match the following profile and who are likely to benefit from tech screener referral and services. In these cases, the consumer:

Note: Tech screeners also may help consumers when there is not enough information about the consumer's basic keyboarding and computer skills to justify an Assistive Technology Unit evaluation and training or the purchase of equipment or software.

The tech screener makes recommendations for keyboarding training based on the results of the tech screener assessment. Recommendations may also include basic computer skills training. For more information about tech screener services, see the Tech Screener Services Overview.

For more information, see Chapter 43: Purchasing Goods and Services for Consumers.

Support Systems

(Revised 11/14)

The VRT helps the consumer gain the knowledge, skills and confidence to access available and appropriate resources including advocacy groups, support groups, mentors, and community resources to maintain an employment lifestyle.

What the VRT Does Not Do

The VRT does not

37.3 Teacher and Counselor Staffing Sessions

(Revised 11/14)

37.3.1 Purpose

The VRT and the VRC work together to

37.3.2 Session Focus

The session is focused on mutual cases including

37.3.3 How Often

The VRC and VRT decide together how often they need to meet to staff. They may meet formally and informally, but must meet often enough to keep each other up to date on the consumer's case.

The VRC and VRT or the RA document the staffing in case notes. Deviation from the process is at the discretion of the field director (FD).

37.4 Consumer Referral Process

(Revised 04/06, 01/09, 02/13, 11/14)

37.4.1 Service Records

Consumers are referred to the vocational rehabilitation teacher (VRT) by using a service record (SR) in ReHabWorks according to the following procedure:

  1. The referring case manager creates an SR requesting VRT services;
  2. The referral appears in the VRT's "Action List." The service status is "Requested";
  3. One SR per VRT per case is used to document consumer services;
  4. If a consumer is being referred for tech screener services and the VRT already has an SR, an Action should be used to refer the consumer for tech screener services; and
  5. If the referral is not accepted, the VRT must document the reason in a case note and the status must be updated to "Not Accepted."

For more information about SRs, see the ReHabWorks Users Guide, Chapter 16: Case Service Records.

37.4.2 Vocational Rehabilitation Adult Referrals

Referrals to a vocational rehabilitation teacher (VRT) are made by a vocational rehabilitation counselor (VRC) if it is determined that VRT services are required.

Adult consumers who are legally blind are almost always referred to the VRT for services with exceptions documented in a case note. Consumers who are visually impaired and who have severe functional limitations may be referred if VRT services are needed.

Adult consumers who plan to receive surgery or treatment expected to improve their vision above legal blindness should not be referred to a VRT unless the consumer demonstrates critical needs before surgery. The VRC must consider the VRT's availability before making the referral.

When a VRC makes the referral, the reason for the referral, assessment, and training instructions are:

The VRT accepts the service record by updating it from "Requested" to "Assessment" status in ReHabWorks once the first contact has been made by phone or in person.

37.4.3 VR Transition Referrals

Transition VRCs are responsible for completing the Transition Core Skills Assessment Checklist. Based on the results of the core skills assessment, if a legally blind or visually impaired transition consumer with severe functional limitations needs VRT skills training, the

For transition cases, see 37.4 Consumer Referral Process.

37.5 Vocational Rehabilitation Teacher Assessment and Training Recommendations Process

For an overview of the Vocational Rehabilitation Teacher assessment and training services, see Teacher Assessment and Training Services Overview on the VR Teachers Toolkit page.

37.5.1 Vocational Rehabilitation Teacher Assessment Process

(Revised 11/10, 11/14)

The vocational rehabilitation teacher (VRT) starts the assessment and identification of the consumer's needs at the first contact with the consumer. If the initial contact is by phone, the VRT completes the assessment in person with the consumer. The VRT uses the Employment Lifestyle Assessment Checklist on the VR Teachers Toolkit page to determine service needs from the six core service areas and records the findings in an assessment case note. When the assessment is completed, the VRT makes training recommendations. For more information on time frames, see VRT Case Management–Best Practices Overview on the VR Teachers Toolkit page.

The assessment provides information about:

37.5.2 Assessment Focus and Employment Outcome

(Revised 11/10, 11/14, 07/16)

Although the vocational rehabilitation teacher (VRT) does not determine the consumer's employment outcome, the assessment is focused on an employment outcome. If the assessment occurs before an employment outcome is known, it focuses on the consumer's

Bulk rehabilitation VRT supplies (see 37.10.1 Rehabilitation Teacher Supplies) may be provided during assessment for evaluative purposes. When VRT supplies are provided during assessment, the documentation should describe in detail what skill or ability is being assessed and how the provided item, device, or equipment aided in the assessment.

Teaching equipment and supplies that must be purchased by the vocational rehabilitation counselor (VRC) cannot be purchased or provided before the active phase.

For more information, see Chapter 43: Purchasing Goods and Services for Consumers.

37.5.3 Employment Lifestyle Assessment Checklist Process

(Revised 11/10, 11/14)

The Employment Lifestyle Assessment Checklist (on the VR Teachers Toolkit page) is a guide and is not put into a case note. Items on the checklist that are relevant to the consumer's training needs are noted in assessment case notes, but some items on the checklist may not be relevant. The checklist does not need to be retained after the assessment is completed. For instructions on using the Employment Lifestyle Assessment Checklist, see Checklist Instructions.

37.5.4 Assessment Documentation

(Revised 11/10 11/14)

The VRT writes an assessment case note titled "VRT Assessment Srvs" for each assessment contact. Case notes are written in narrative form using the six core areas as headings. If no training needs are identified in a core area, this should be reflected rather than omitting the area from the assessment. For examples of assessment case notes, see Case Note Examples.

37.5.5 Recommending Training Services Before VRT Assessment Completion

(Added 11/14)

If the need becomes apparent, the VRT may recommend VRT services at any time before the VRT assessment is completed. This allows the VRC to move forward in developing the consumer's plan by adding VRT services to the IPE.

To recommend VRT services before the VRT assessment is complete, the VRT

When the assessment is complete, the VRT documents training recommendations in a "VRT Training Recommendations" case note.

37.5.6 VRT Training Recommendations Process

(Revised 11/10, 11/14)

When the assessment is completed, the VRT enters a separate case note of training recommendations at that time.

37.5.7 VRT Training Recommendations Documentation

(Revised 11/10, 11/14)

When making VRT training recommendations, the VRT

For examples of Training Recommendations case notes, see Case Note Examples.

37.6 VRT Training Process

(Revised 11/14

37.6.1 Scope of VRT Training Services

Based on consumer needs and VRC input, the range of VRT training services can include

37.6.2 Providing Vocational Rehabilitation Teacher Skills Training

After the Vocational Rehabilitation Teacher (VRT) makes training recommendations, he or she determines whether the individualized plan for employment (IPE) has been implemented and VRT services are included. VRT training can be initiated once the case is in "Active" status and the VRT service record status is updated to "Active." Any services provided before IPE development must be titled “VRT Assessment Services.”

Adaptive equipment (see 37.10.1 Rehabilitation Teacher Supplies) may be provided during training; however, all purchases should be coordinated with the vocational rehabilitation counselor (VRC).  The VRC must ask all consumers, regardless of economic resources, if they can pay for any part of their program (see Chapter 2: Intake, 2.3.2 Guidelines ).  In addition, some purchases are subject to application of income criteria, and this determination is made by the VRC.  A written justification is needed for the purchase of any adaptive equipment.

For more information, see Chapter 43: Purchasing Goods and Services for Consumers.

37.6.3 Braille Training

Braille is an essential skill for consumers who are blind. The VRT and VRC should encourage any consumer who cannot access print efficiently and effectively to learn braille. In order to make an informed choice regarding braille training, consumers will be offered the opportunity to learn braille after they have a Braille Assessment using non-visual techniques. Information on components of a Braille Assessment can be found in Best Practices for Braille Training. For more information about braille, see Simply Braille.

37.7 Interruption of VRT Services

When VRT services are interrupted and all VRT services have not been provided, the VRT

Interruption status is not appropriate if no identified services remain to be provided; instead, the SR should be closed.

37.8 Completion of VRT Services

37.8.1 Completing VRT Services

(Revised 03/16)

Vocational Rehabilitation Teacher (VRT) services are completed when

The VRT service record (SR) is closed when the VRT and VRC agree that all recommended VRT services have been provided. The VRT then:

37.8.2 Providing Additional Requested Services

(Revised 03/16)

Once the Vocational Rehabilitation Teacher (VRT) service record (SR) is closed, additional services can be provided if the vocational rehabilitation counselor (VRC) has not closed the case.

If additional VRT services can be provided in one courtesy contact, a new SR is not needed if the contact is made within 12 months after the SR was closed. These services are documented in a "VRT Courtesy Contact" case note.

If additional VRT services require more than one courtesy contact, the VRC must create a new SR.

Note: A new VRT assessment is not needed if the VRT SR was closed within the past six months.  Services are documented in a "VRT Training SRVS" case note.

If the VRT SR was closed more than six months ago, a thorough VRT assessment should be constructed and VRT Training Recommendations entered. The VRT provides the services, which are documented in "VRT Training Srvs" case notes. The SR is closed again when both the VRC and VRT agree that all needed VRT services have been provided.

Note: If the VRC has closed the original case and is referring for VRT services on a newly opened case, a thorough VRT assessment must be conducted.

37.9 VRT Case Services Management

(Revised 11/14)

37.9.1 Case Notes

For vocational rehabilitation teacher (VRT) case note guidelines, see Case Note Guidelines. The VRT documents all consumer contacts, attempts to contact, and other pertinent information in case notes using the six core skill headings as needed to document VRT services provided and consumer progress. See Case Note Examples.

The following five titles are available in ReHabWorks for VRT case notes:

The case note title may be edited by beginning with "VRT" and choosing Add to Topic to enter additional information. Five examples of edited titles follow:

37.9.2 Case Transfers

(Revised 02/13, 11/14)

For transfers within the field,

37.9.3 Transfers to CCRC

When a consumer is transferred to CCRC, the VRT SR service record may be closed or put in interrupted status by the field VRT.

37.9.4 Action List

For more information, see ReHabWorks Users Guide, Chapter 6: Case Actions and Actions List, 6.3.4 Getting an Action List for a Specific Staff Person.

37.9.5 Service Records

For more information about in-house service records (SR), see:

Update SR status regularly to accurately reflect progress in the case. For example, "Active" would show training.

One SR at a time is used for vocational rehabilitation teacher services. Duplicate SRs should be closed as "Not Accepted."

See DARS Acronyms.

37.10 Rehabilitation Supplies and Adaptive Equipment

(Revised 11/14, 07/16)

37.10.1 Rehabilitation Teacher Supplies

Rehabilitation teacher supplies are also known as "bulk supplies" or "consumable supplies". They are defined as high-usage, low-cost supplies such as watches, bold line paper, writing guides, timers, etc. These supplies

37.10.2 Adaptive Equipment

Adaptive equipment is defined as durable items or devices ordered for a consumer (for example, flashlights, talking color identifiers, talking money identifiers, and braillers). Adaptive equipment is:

The VRC documents the justification for purchase of an item before it is ordered. If the value of the equipment exceeds $500, a "consumer" inventory tag is attached to the equipment and a DARS 2014, Rehabilitation Equipment Receipt and Agreement, is signed by the consumer.

Adaptive demonstration equipment is defined as agency-owned equipment lent to consumers for demonstration and/or training purposes only (for example, CCTVs, electronic book readers, netbooks, and braillers). The equipment is added to the office inventory account, and a state inventory tag is attached.

For more information, see Chapter 43: Purchasing Goods and Services for Consumers.

37.10.3 Recommending Counselor Purchase of Adaptive Equipment

The vocational rehabilitation teacher (VRT) may create an action or email for the vocational rehabilitation counselor (VRC) to recommend the purchase of equipment that is not considered a bulk or consumable supply. Once the VRC agrees, the VRT should determine how to coordinate the equipment purchase.

Note: Justification must be documented in ReHabWorks for all purchase recommendations.

For more information, see Chapter 43: Purchasing Goods and Services for Consumers.

37.10.4 Maintaining Inventory Levels in the Local Office

Follow these steps to maintain inventory levels in the local office:

37.10.5 Accountability

Accountability for adaptive supplies and equipment issued to consumers is verified by

37.10.6 Receipt and Agreement Form

DARS2014, Rehabilitation Equipment Receipt and Agreement, is used primarily to document issuance of adaptive supplies and equipment with a value of $500 or more.

Receipt for VRT Training Supplies can be used to document supplies with a value of less than $500. This form is not mandatory, but is useful in helping the consumer to understand his or her responsibility related to depleted or damaged equipment.