Dr. Paul Leung, Ph.D., CRC
Over the years, I have written much but I’ve never done a blog so this invite from Martha is a first for me. With an assigned theme to highlight my journey in becoming a rehabilitation professional, I really didn’t know how to begin. The struggle was I’m not sure what interest someone would have about what I’ve done or not.
So I’ll just start by echoing what others have said in the previous blogs. Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) is a profession that merits the attention of anyone who may be interested in working with people and particularly people with disabilities. There is no question in my mind that the rewards of working in rehabilitation have been far greater than I would have imagined when I began. While my ending up in rehabilitation was not particularly accidental (I needed a job and with a baccalaureate in psychology/sociology/art, employers were not clamoring at my door) it was certainly not planned. But I came in during the era of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society and there were plenty of opportunities. This was in many ways truly an age of expansion. I believe it remains true as even today, there is opportunity and plenty of room for folks wanting to make a difference. The bottom line for me is that it has been an incredible run and I truly believe it can be for you who are reading this now. Continue reading
Brandi Darensbourg, Ph.D., CRC
Throughout my life, I had many service providers, including vocational rehabilitation counselors who assisted me in my career path. In particular at the age of 18 years old, I met a rehabilitation professional who was blind and living a very independent life. Growing up in rural, south Louisiana I did not know many people with blindness or visual impairments who were working and actively participating in society. Little did I know at the time, but meeting this professional would lead me to my career in rehabilitation. She was an excellent role model that showed me a person with blindness could be successful in life. She was very proficient in her disability related skills which allowed her to be so independent. This taught me that I really needed to not focus on my education but also on my disability related skills. After meeting her, I became even more comfortable in presenting myself to society as a person with a visual impairment. I knew then that I wanted to change the life of at least one person with a disability in the way she had so graciously done for me.
Linda Holloway, PhD, CRC
I’ve often heard that the field of rehabilitation is “one of the best kept secrets.” Unlike professions such as teaching, medicine, etc., most children don’t declare at age 10 – “I want to be rehabilitation professional.” My personal journey began when my mother was diagnosed with a serious mental illness when I was a child. Luckily, she had a psychiatrist who knew the value of work in helping people through their recovery. With treatment, medication, and, most importantly, a meaningful job, my mom blossomed.
So, I learned at an early age that “we don’t have to be well to go to work, we often go to work to get well”(quote from Richard Pimentel). I knew that I wanted to help people rebuild their lives and like many of you, I stumbled upon the field. Psychology was too focused on the pathology, Social Work didn’t really look at disability, but rehabilitation… oh, my… it was a perfect fit!