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What to Expect from OVR
Your state's Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) provides vocational services to help individuals with disabilities — including Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) — to prepare for, obtain, and retain employment. Each state receives funding from the federal government, which is supplemented by state funding. OVR eligibility requirements vary by state as do the specific services offered by each state.
In general, OVR can help you:
- Figure out what kind of job you want;
- Figure out what skills you have;
- Determine what accommodations you might need to succeed at work;
- Identify other resources to help you;
- Create and follow a plan to reach your employment goals.
To apply for OVR services, contact the nearest district office in your state. You can find this contact information in the blue pages of a telephone book, online, or, for some areas in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware, within the Resource Directory of the CAR Autism Roadmap™. After you apply, you will undergo an evaluation. It takes about 60 days to learn if you are eligible for services. You should know that even if you are eligible, there may be a waiting list before you can begin.
In general, in order to qualify for services, OVR must determine that:
- You have a physical or mental disability;
- Your disability causes a barrier to employment;
- You have the ability to benefit from services to prepare for, obtain, or retain employment; and
- You want to work.
If you qualify for OVR services, you and a vocational counselor will develop an individualized plan for employment (IPE). The IPE will specify what services will be provided and what both you and OVR must do. Sometimes you may be asked to contribute to the cost of services. This will be discussed before any services begin.
Services available through your local OVR may include:
- Diagnostic services to help you better understand your diagnosis and how it affects your ability to work and your need for services;
- Vocational evaluations to measure your aptitude, interests, abilities, areas of weakness, and work preferences; a vocational evaluation could include a work trial to observe how you perform at a job site;
- Counseling to help you set realistic vocational goals and develop successful work habits;
- Skill training to prepare you for a job;
- Training to help you with life skills, such as getting to and from work;
- Placement assistance, including help with finding job openings, pursuing job leads, filling out applications, writing a resume, and interviewing;
- Assistive technology, if needed;
- Job coaching.