Job Site Accommodations
Patricia Burns, B.A., OT & AT Specialist, The Virginia Department for Aging & Rehabilitative Services
Thomas Rybak, M.F.A., Rehabilitation Engineer, The Virginia Department for Aging & Rehabilitative Services
Finding solutions that work requires finding the right tool and the right job. The assistive technology specialist and rehabilitation engineer work collaboratively with the client, employment specialist, employer, and family/care giver in determining the technology and accommodations needed for successful employment based on the client’s interests, skill set, aptitude, and barriers to employment. Matching the assistive technology to the individual requires consideration of the person, the demands of the job tasks and the the environment in which they work. Off the shelf and customized technology can be used. Trials of equipment/accommodations, installation and training, and recommendations being appropriate and cost effective are essential components in the assistive technology process. A variety of case studies are showcased to include the medical industry, service industry, agricultural industry and work from home employment. A few assistive technology devices are presented for use in the college setting. These case studies will demonstrate simple to complex technology solutions.
Patricia Burns is an occupational therapist and assistive technology specialist for the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services. She was instrumental in developing one of the first Computer Accommodation Labs in the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1989. Pat has provided a wide variety of assistive technology services in her over 25 years of experience. Her most recent work has primarily been with the use of hand held technologies, youth in transition, computer access and work site accommodations. Pat earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Occupational Therapy from the College of St. Catherine.
Thomas Rybak is a Rehabilitation Engineer that has worked at the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services for over 20 years. Tom was the principal developer of the Rehab Engineering Fabrication Shop in Richmond. This interdisciplinary fabrication workshop facility is equipped to craft all types of materials and techniques to create and develop highly customized low and high tech assistive devices for clients with disabilities. Tom also provides architectural modification plans to make clients’ homes and worksites more accessible to achieve maximum vocational and independence goals. He consults regularly with and provides presentations to OTs, Vocational Rehab Counselors, clients and their family members, as well as other community members to remove barriers to employment, education, and daily living. Tom received his BFA in Painting from Washington University in St. Louis in 1982 and MFA in Painting from VCU in 1984. Prior to coming to DARS in 1995 Tom worked in construction, cabinetmaking, and building interactive displays at the Science Museum of Virginia.