Monday, November 30, 2015

Two brothers using AT intervention strategies to find success

This video shows Assistive Technology intervention strategies that have proven invaluable for two brothers as they work with our Vocational Rehabilitation program to expand their knowledge, skills, and independence and strive toward their dreams of education, meaningful careers, and self-sufficiency.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Disability Services at Universities

    At The Choice Group, we strive to help people with disabilities discover their ability.  This includes young adults in transitional periods of their lives.  From leaving home for the first time to attend postsecondary schools, to preparing meals, or scheduling transportation, The Choice Group is here to help our clients work through any challenges they may face step by step.

     A greater awareness of issues like accessibility and inclusive work or educational environments help make these transitions less daunting for people with disabilities.  This article by Michelle Diament sheds light on how unprepared universities seem to be for the growing number of students with disabilities, and how we need to step up the game!

Greater Transparency Urged for College Disability Services

Amid concerns from advocates, a U.S. senator is calling on federal education officials to make information about disability services at the nation’s colleges more readily available.

In a letter this week, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., asked the U.S. Department of Education to offer better guidance for those with disabilities and their families as they investigate postsecondary education options.

“As colleges admit greater numbers of students with disabilities … it is vital these students have transparent disability services information,” Casey wrote in the letter addressed to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and John King, who is slated to take over Duncan’s job later this year.

Sixty percent of students with disabilities pursue postsecondary education within eight years of high school, according to a 2011 federal report. But, just 40 percent of these students complete college programs compared to 52 percent of students without disabilities.

Advocates say that a lack of information is partly to blame. While all schools are obligated to provide a minimum-level of assistance to students with disabilities, some colleges and universities do more than others to highlight their offerings, according to Lindsay Jones, vice president of policy and advocacy at the National Center for Learning Disabilities.

“We’ve received increasing parent concerns about the transition to college,” Jones said, adding that families are struggling to find answers to basic questions like what services are available and what type of documentation they will need in order to request assistance.

“The reality is that it’s uncharted territory because most people at colleges and universities are unprepared for people with disabilities to attend,” she said.

Simple steps like collecting more data about the disability services offered on college campuses and making it easier for students and their families to learn about such offerings would go a long way, Casey said.

In particular, the senator recommended that the Department of Education move to make questions about disability services mandatory on questionnaires sent to colleges and universities and add a special search option on the agency’s College Navigator website so that students with disabilities can find relevant information.

Casey also cited the Obama administration’s College Scorecard, a nearly 2-year-old website allowing families to compare colleges and universities based on cost, size, location and graduation rate, among other factors. Currently, however, he indicated the scorecard offers no information about disability services on campuses.

Recently announced plans to create a National Center for Information and Technical Support for Postsecondary Students With Disabilities are a step in the right direction, Casey said.

“These small yet significant changes will clarify to the thousands of students with disabilities graduating high school each year and their families that disability support services are available and that college is a place they can succeed,” Casey wrote.

A spokesman for the Education Department said the agency had received Casey’s letter and would be responding.

For the full article on, click here.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Franz Stillfried Barrier Free Achievers Honor Roll

Ericka Neville- Manager, Hampton Roads

Thank you to Ericka Neville and her staff for nominating the winner of the Franz Stillfried Barrier Free Achievers Honor Roll.  This award is given to recognize the efforts made by individuals, businesses or organizations for the removal of architectural, attitudinal and environmental barriers.  The winner was an individual by the name of Keith Johnson employed by Hampton Roads Transit as the Manager of Paratransit Operations.  Keith was so impressed by the words spoken about him he asked who wrote them - it was a collaborative effort, so again thank you Hampton Roads team!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Join us in honoring our dedicated employees!

     Adair Jensen-Smith received the President’s Award from the Virginia Rehabilitation Association. This award is given to an individual for outstanding service to the association and its goals.  It was noted that Adair always goes above and beyond and at The Choice Group we already know this and that is one of the many reasons we appreciate her and honor her!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Congrats to our VARL Emerging Leader - Erica Johnson!

Congratulations to our Area Manager, Erica Johnson for the Northern Virginia office, on earning the VARL Emerging Leader Award!  She does such a great job, but is so shy she didn't even want us to take this picture.  But too bad Erica, we are proud of you!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Meet Our Virginia Beach Counselors!

      Meet our Virginia Beach Staff!  With such a large area to serve, including an abundant military presence, our counselors are dedicated to their clients.  It is a source of deep personal satisfaction when we help our clients achieve a new level of independence through gainful employment.  Some of our clients are looking to supplement their disability benefits while others are working to achieve full financial independence through various programs such as Ticket to Work.  Whatever your financial goals, finding meaningful employment can be a part of a well-rounded, enriching lifestyle.  Our knowledgeable and resourceful staff can help you lay the groundwork for whatever your employment goals may be.

Tracie Showalter

Renee Arnold

Kim Heisser

Lisa Handke

Rebecca Allen

Sarah Morgan

Kim Yoakum

Rachel McGregor

Liz Collison

Katherine Edwards

Roxanne Monroe

Amorita Clark

Nancy McNamara - Lead Counselor

Monday, November 9, 2015

Meet Our Counselors in Northern Virginia

     We have four offices throughout Virginia dedicated to helping people with disabilities find meaningful employment.  Our staff goes above and beyond every day to help people understand their benefits, find a job suited for them, and help their clients reach goals they might not have thought previously possible.  This is why we'd like to introduce our enthusiastic counselors in the Northern Virginia area that are committed to helping our clients reach their employment goals.

James Tarawali

Shadi Zadeh

Kisha Joseph

Tiffany Brown

Jamie Malloy

Erica Johnson - Manager

John Callahan

Travis Greene

Kim Warfield

Stephanie Hill - Lead Counselor