Supporting Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders through a Model Public VR Program
James Rothrock, M.S., Commissioner, The Virginia Department for Aging & Rehabilitative Services
Richard Kriner, Virginia Department of Rehabilitative Services
In 2008, VCU-RRTC in partnership with the Virginia Department of Rehabilitative Services implemented the VCU ASD Career Links Grant, a federally funded research project for conducting evidence-based research on vocational rehabilitation (VR) service models for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). For VA DRS, this research has resulted in agency investment in new practices and services, as well as positive employment outcomes for persons with ASD. Virginia’s emerging model program for individuals with ASD may offer a solution for VR agencies facing a surge of new clients with ASD and a lack of existing research on evidenced based strategies to improve historically bleak employment outcomes. The VA DRS model, founded on evidence based research, provides supports for the unique behavioral, social, and leaning needs of this group. Emphasis is placed on comprehensive assessment and person centered planning strategies, interagency coordination, early interventions, and assistive technologies that maximize independence across environments, and promote long-term success. Learn how your agency can benefit from similar interventions and practices and key considerations for preparing for and implementing each approach.
Jim Rothrock Master of Science, Commissioner - James A. Rothrock, a native of Martinsville, Virginia, was reappointed to his position as Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Rehabilitative Services, a position he has held since 2002, by Governor Bob McDonnell. In 1965, he began his relationship with DRS when he became a client after a sledding accident which resulted in a Spinal Cord Injury and has been a counselor, a trainer, and deputy commissioner at DRS. He has been involved with disability advocacy and programming for more than 40 years. A graduate of St. Andrews Presbyterian College in Laurinburg, North Carolina, he obtained his Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling at Virginia Commonwealth University in 1978. Since September, he has also been serving as the Interim Commissioner at the Virginia Department for the Aging. His main goal is to look for areas wherein a convergence of aging and disability occurs in order to increase the array of services available to Virginians with disabilities and vintage Virginians.
Joseph Ashley RhD., CRC,Assistant Commissioner; Director, Grants & Special Programs - Joseph Ashley received a Doctorate of Rehabilitation from the Rehabilitation Institute at the Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Dr. Ashley also has a Masters in Rehabilitation Counseling from the University of South Carolina. He has received both National and State leadership awards in rehabilitation and has received a State Leadership award from the Virginia Community College System Workforce Services for collaborations with the Virginia Workforce System. Dr. Ashley has also received a lifetime achievement award for his work in Transition Services for youth with disability. He has worked in the field of rehabilitation for 30 years.
Richard Kriner MS, CRC, LPC - Richard Kriner MS, CRC, LPC is the Autism Research Grant Coordinator at the Virginia Department of Rehabilitative services. In this role, Mr. Kriner is responsible for supporting DRS involvement in the VCU ASD Career Links Grant and other ASD focused projects and activities, ensuring knowledge dissemination to stakeholders, and integrating evidenced based results into VA DRS service delivery. Mr. Kriner has 10 years’ of experience planning, directing, and managing VA DRS programs for people with disabilities. Richard Joined the Virginia Department of Rehabilitative Services in 2002 as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor with a specialty caseload in long-term mental illness.