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Roger N. Meyer "...of a different mind "
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Career Counseling and Job Development

 

 

     I am available on a fee-for-services arrangement as a consultant to the State of Oregon Department of Human Services and its Office of Vocational Rehabilitation Service.  I also work privately as a consultant to individuals and as a contractor to private agencies and providers.  As author of Asperger Syndrome Employment Workbook (2001), numerous articles on employment of cognitively impaired individuals, and a forthcoming book on peer-led adult support groups, I do not believe in the idea of "any job" as an acceptable outcome for any person with a disability. 

 

     I do not subscribe to de minimus or low expectations and easy placements in dead end jobs just to "make the numbers."  Because I am not employed by an agency, I have my own performance standards.  They are not driven by any requirement to have a certain number of cases or a certain number of successful outcomes, however the agency or its funding source considers "success."  I have found such measures to be, at most, ambitious, and at worst, disingenuous, disappointing, and highly misleading when examined by members of the general public who look for common sense dignified, living wage, long-term outcomes, not mere statistical numbers manipulated in monthly and annual agency reports. 

 

     I do not believe in the concept of "the ideal job" for persons with any special category of disability.  I do not believe in pigeon-holing people into jobs traditionally considered suitable for them "because that's the way we've always done things here."  Because the employment market remains in a constant state of flux, and individuals change and grow over time, no matter how severely impaired they may at first appear, I react strongly to proposals to place individuals out of contact with others or in what amount to warehousing, enclave, or disabled workshop sweatshops.

 

     I do not believe in "make work" of any kind, nor have I any patience for persons who patronize working persons with disabilities.

 

     Rather than "a job," I view paid employment as a career issue, and urge the individual and those helping the individual to broaden their outlook to encompass a living wage, promotion, career development, personal development, and augmentation of benefits as a natural consequence of being an employed person.  As a consultant to the individual, the employer, VR counselors and other providers, I can provide the bigger picture by helping the individual develop and strength his/her skills and flexibility needed in our rapidly changing job market.

 

     I encourage every person to maximize his or her involvement in their community, no matter their degree of impairment.  I consider "employment and work" to be an attitude towards oneself and society, not merely an economic status.

 

     There are instances where an individual cannot work for pay, or chooses not to for any number of reasons.  If they desire to be involved with others, I encourage them to connect with natural supports in the community, and stretch into volunteer and other unpaid, valuable roles.  Not all rewarding work is paid.  In fact, much of what is personally rewarding to the individual as well as others touched by the individual's life, may not be paid.  This fact neither diminishes the person's worth nor the value of their contributions to the lives of others in their community.

 

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