Triveni Goswami Vernal
(Registered Special Educator A64010)
In my previous blog, I had written about Pre-Vocational skills and how they can be introduced to the individuals via various activities at home (household chores, socio-emotional skills, functional academics, time management skills etc). In this blog, I will write about Vocational Assessment and the transition to Vocational Training.
Vocational Training essentially tries to develop “work readiness” skills in an individual. In order to assess, whether an individual qualifies for employment, a vocational assessment has to be made. The assessment should gather information on the individual’s background, educational requirements, pre-requisite skills for the job at the hand etc. The assessment should be able to capture the individual’s strengths and weaknesses, ability to work in a group setting or not, ability to follow instructions, maintain personal hygiene, respect personal space etc.
The National Institute for the Empowerment of Persons with Disability (NIEPID), formerly NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health), Secunderabad, developed a Vocational Assessment tool, the NIMH Vocational Assessment and Programming System for Persons with Mental Retardation (NIMH-VAPS).
The NIMH-VAPS was developed by NIMH in 1998, under the supervision of Dr. A.T. Thressia Kutty, who was a faculty member at NIMH. The objectives of this assessment were:
1) To provide information on work readiness skills
2) Identify suitable jobs in the community
3) Provide information on jobs selected.
4) Identify areas in which training is required.
5) Places emphasis on, on-the-job-training.
6) Evaluates work related skills and work behaviour
7) Targets employment for all trainees who are assessed.
8) Extends support for job retention.
VAPS includes multiple levels of assessment to be carried out—Trainee Assessment (that includes Generic Skills Assessment—Work Readiness Skills) and Community Assessment (that includes Job Identification –Specific Skills).
Very briefly, I would like to share what is included in the NIMH-VAPS:
1) Vocational Profile: This includes Identification Data of the individual (age, date of birth, marital status, level of Intellectual disability, guardian’s name and address etc),
2) Family history
3) Socio-economic status
4) Generic Readiness (Readiness skills—Personal skills, Communication, Social Behaviour, Safety, Mobility, Domestic behaviour, Functional Academics, Mobility and Hand Functioning, Occupational etc)
5) Associated Conditions: Epilepsy, Physical handicap, Psychiatric features, Visual Handicap, Hearing Handicap etc.
6) Training Received: Educational qualifications/Vocational training etc.
7) Daily Routine: The schedule followed by the individual throughout the day.
8) Experience in Employment
9) Possibilities of Employment: The extent to which the family can play a role etc.
10) Areas in which guidance is required.
11) Selection of suitable jobs (based on Generic Skills and Vocational Profile)
12) Any other remarks
Besides this, it has an extensive Generic Skills Assessment Check List (that includes detailed information on Personal skills, Communication, Social Behaviour, Safety, Mobility, Domestic behaviour, Functional Academics, Mobility and Hand Functioning, Occupational skills), followed by a section on the Generic Skills Assessment Data, a Job Analysis Format (based on Individualized Vocational Curriculum and Evaluation Procedure), Work Behaviour Assessment Checklist for Persons with Mental Retardation, followed by a section on Work Assessment Data and an Evaluation Report at the end to compile the data from the multiple levels of assessments.
Thus, we see how extensive the levels of assessments are, to gauge whether the individual has the pre-requisite work readiness skills, to actually fit in the job profile. The NIMH-VAPS is also a good example of how we must keep in mind that there must be a match between the work readiness skills in the individual, and the needs and requirements of the job, for an individual to actually be fit for the job profile.
In my next blog, I will be writing about the various types of Vocational Employment available.
Author Triveni Goswami Vernal
The author has a Professional Development Certificate in Dyscalculia (Decoding Math: Foundation course), Lord Math Education, Sep-Oct, 2023 and is also Certified in Dyslexia Teacher Training, Learning Disorders, OG Phonics, Ripples Centre for Enhanced Learning, 2019.
Artwork by artist Kabir Vernal
“Fireworks in Night Sky“
Acrylic Painting on Watercolour Paper