Visual Disability

Visual Disabilities

(Students will read the case study and answer 2 questions of their choosing. Please number the question you are answering and restate the question in a sentence. Answers must be at least one paragraph (3 to 5 sentences) and written in complete sentences. Each question is worth 5 points each, for a total of 10 points.)

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Case Study

Ms. Alexa Bitari is a 51-year-old Caucasian female diagnosed with (dry) macular degeneration. She has never been married and lives alone. Ms. Bitari’s best corrected vision is reported as 20/40 (right eye) and 20/300 (left eye). Her central vision is compromised in both eyes due to macular degeneration. The client reports that her vision loss interferes with her personal grooming and managing her finances, causing difficulties performing essential functions of her job. To be able to read, Alexa needs bright light and large print with 3.5 magnification. She reports no hospitalization or medications, and a lack of major emotional problems or substance abuse issues.

Ms. Bitari graduated from high school and earned a bachelor’s degree in the field of communications. Subsequently, she obtained clerical skills training at a local business college and took classes related to advancement in the entertainment field. For the past 25 years, Alexa has worked for a large entertainment firm as an administrative secretary. This position was in the corporate graphic design department and was recently eliminated due to downsizing. Ms. Bitari is currently working within the clerical pool and will have to interview for a new position to remain with the employer. Attitudes prevail throughout the entertainment industry that very few jobs can be performed by someone who is visually impaired. Alexa recognizes that the entertainment industry is populated by mostly young workers; she is concerned that she will be reviewed as “washed up” especially if she discloses that she is coping with vision loss due to macular degeneration.

Despite her long tenure with the employer and excellent clerical skills. Ms. Bitari believes she will not be retained by the company in a permanent position because of her disability. She enjoys working in the entertainment industry, especially the challenging, fast-paced, and at times, glamorous working environment. Because she has trouble using the computer and reading file labels, Ms. Bitari fears that her request for accommodation will be denied. Alexia is worried that she will begin making errors on the job if her eye conditions worsens.

In her most recent position as an administrative secretary, Ms. Bitari was responsible for typing purchase orders and correspondence, answering telephones and making appointments, coordinating meetings, and performing other staff responsibilities. An administrative secretary lifts and carries a maximum of ten pounds, with frequent lifting of less than five pounds. Most of the work is conducted while sitting. It takes approximately one year to acquire the skills needed for this position. Ms. Bitari has consulted with a rehabilitation counselor regarding the requirements and potential reasonable accommodations that will be needed for retaining a position with her current employer.

Questions

Discuss possible limitations, both physical and psychosocial, for individuals with low vision or blindness.
Describe Ms. Bitari’s job as an administrative secretary in terms of physical exertion and skill levels. Provide a vocational profile.
As Ms. Bitari’s rehabilitation counselor, describe the steps you would need take to identify appropriate rehabilitation technology services.
Given the size of Alexa’s employer, discuss how you would propose she be accommodated through assistive technology.
If Ms. Bitari is unable to continue working for her present employer, as her counselor, what alternatives will you recommend? Include short-term and long-term goals.

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