Initially, Ontario March of Dimes provided services only to people experiencing residual effects of polio. Since the early 1960s, we have expanded our clientele base to include all people with physical disabilities, from both the private and public sectors. Clients from the private sector receive services on a fee-for-service basis.
Recent changes in legislation have placed more emphasis on rehabilitation for people with only more serious illness or injury. In response, the rehabilitation industry, which often served mainly individuals who sustained minor, soft-tissue injuries, underwent substantial restructuring to try to meet the needs of a more seriously injured client base. And yet only a handful of these private organizations understood the complexities of rehabilitation intervention in cases of more significant illnesses or injuries. Many were not equipped to provide services to people in these circumstances, and this resulted in the downfall of many previously well-established organizations.
Ontario March of Dimes, with our history and the range of our services, has been recognized as an organization with the expertise to deal with all types of physical disabilities.
With many private rehabilitation firms, in order for a seriously injured individual to obtain a proper combination of assessment, treatment and return-to-work services, a variety of service providers are consulted. With such an extensive list of people involved with an individual, often a rehabilitation plan will have no end in sight, resulting in a disappointed individual and dissatisfied customer. Often, people recover physically but, due to their prolonged absence from the work force, are unable to find employment. Also frustrating is when they recover to a point which does not allow them to return to their pre-injury occupation, but they are not trained in alternative job skills.
Ontario March of Dimes’ Employment Services specialize in designing and implementing return-to-work programs. We have assisted hundreds of people to identify and achieve their employment goals. Our services include assessments, work preparation, the Diskovery Job Skills Training program, and workplace services.
The assessment is the initial step in developing a rehabilitation plan. Feasible job goals are identified based on transferrable skills and the job market. Future earning potential is maximized through proper identification of a person’s physical abilities, educational achievements, interests and prior skills. Assessments include functional assessments, physical demands analyses, job analyses, home site assessments, vocational evaluations, transferrable skills analyses and labour market surveys.
Once we have completed the assessment stage and identified an individual’s occupational goals, the emphasis is moved to getting the person ready for real work demands. We develop individualized, goal-directed programs which include comprehensive coverage of the physical and psychological barriers to employment. Our clients participate in a work-conditioning or a work-hardening program, conducted in our facility or in a workplace, until they are deemed ready to perform the occupational tasks of the identified occupation.
Often, our clients may not have all the required skills for the new occupational goal and may require additional job skills development. Diskovery Job Skills Computer Training is an option from which some individuals may benefit. This is a daily classroom program for approximately 16 weeks, followed by an unpaid placement with an employer.
Very often, the placement component of the service results in actual employment with the placement employer. Our placement officers have developed an extensive employer resource which has been successfully utilized for many years. They provide one-on-one placement counselling and group work-readiness classes, sophisticated marketing and job development strategies to ensure high placement rates.
Ontario March of Dimes’ Employment Services program is just a part of the total sum of what Ontario March of Dimes does. The Employment Services are provided in nine locations across Ontario. We strive to continue providing exceptional service to exceptional people.
(Lorris Herenda is the Provincial Sales and Marketing Coordinator for Ontario March of Dimes. She can be reached at (416) 425-3463, ext. 286.)
The Rehabilitation Foundation for the Disabled, operating as Ontario March of Dimes, presents :
1998 Annual General Meeting & Awards Luncheon
Saturday, September 12, 1998, 9:00 a.m.
Toronto Airport Marriott Hotel, 901 Dixon Road, Rexdale, Ontario
For more information, please contact the AGM Coordinator at 416-425-3463, ext 322.