BEAR Services for Rehabilitation Agencies

Self-advocacy Instruction

  • Successful individuals know how to identify what they need, express those needs confidently and politely, and collaborate to meet the needs of all involved in a task, project, or community.
  • BEAR provides individual instruction and group training in self-advocacy skills because these skills impact every facet of an individual’s life.

Social Skills and Independent Living Skills Training for Workplace Readiness

  • BEAR offers individual and group training in social skills and independent living skills.
  • BEAR knows that social skills and independent living skills are vital to success for all individuals entering adulthood.
  • Individuals without these “soft” skills can face a very “hard landing” in postsecondary education, employment, and community settings.

Job Exploration Counseling

  • Some believe that individuals who are blind/low vision “fit” best in a certain kind of job. This could not be further from the truth.
  • When blindness/low vision, alone or coupled with additional disabilities, seems to limit options, BEAR can help.
  • For individuals, we conduct assessments, task analysis of job positions, and make recommendations on needed skill training and accessible tools that can help ameliorate the adverse impact of disabilities on the individual’s ability to perform one or more job tasks.
  • BEAR also offers group training—for individuals with blindness/low vision and/or for professionals serving them. We know that, in order to maximize the opportunities for any individual, we must recognize and build upon an individual’s natural talents and interests and explore the employment options that allow each individual to focus on talents and skills—not on any disabilities. The individual must be our focus.

Counseling on Opportunities in Comprehensive Transition or Postsecondary Educational Programs

  • BEAR provides a framework from which to assess the appropriateness of an institution and a setting for an individual as well as to pinpoint what additional services may be needed to prepare for the “right fit.”
  • For example, an institution in an urban setting might be a good fit except that the individual has poor travel skills. This individual might be tempted to avoid the urban setting. BEAR can identify this unmet need. With the additional training in independent travel skills, this individual would then be able to attend the urban institution that would serve the individual better.

Instruction for Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors, School Transition Personnel, and Other Persons Supporting Students with Disabilities

  • Education is at the heart of BEAR.
  • We seek to build skill sets so that all involved in supporting students with blindness/low vision (with or without additional disabilities) are empowered to provide and know where to find the services and tools students with disabilities need.

Individualized Education Program (IEP) Services, including Transition Planning

  • IEP services from BEAR staff include individual counseling/preparation, group presentations to families and students, training for vocational rehabilitation staff members, and in-meeting advocacy and collaboration.
  • BEAR staff members have made in-person and online presentations at international, national, and regional conferences on IEP and related matters.
  • BEAR staff members have participated in individualized education program meetings for students with disabilities throughout the country in the roles of parent, educator (direct and consultative service provider), advocate, and student. Our experience allows us to help all team participants focus on the educational and transition needs of the student and to negotiate innovative solutions for the team to provide needed services and tools to the student.