As a survivor of Traumatic Brain-Injury who is too stubborn to give up and yield to the notion that I cannot work due to disability, I have--more than once--been a client of the Washington State Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. My file has never been closed as successfully employed, though I have gotten jobs during the Voc. Rehab. process (once, I didn't know that I needed to let my counselor know that I had gotten a job on my own, so that my file could be closed and coded "Successfully Employed.")
A couple of years ago, one of my VRC's (Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors) at DVR told me that we TBI survivors are among the most difficult to serve successfully, as we present with such a wide array of disabilities and unique individual circumstances. Last fall, I began the VR process anew, starting with a TWE (Trial Work Experience) at Goodwill.

It wasn't my first TWE at Goodwill. The first had come when I approached Goodwill for help with interviewing--I was getting interviews for lots of good jobs, but not landing any of them. DVR, though, has channels it must follow, so they sent me for the TWE to assess my readiness to work.

In my arrogance, I did not take the TWE seriously--after all, I only wanted interview assistance! I had several late arrivals, and did not pass the TWE.

This time, I took it seriously. I passed the TWE and was allowed to select a Community-based Agency to provide job development services. This made me optimistic, for every other time I had advanced this far in the VR process, I had gotten a job on my own.

Sure enough, I was hired, by the Spokane Tribe of Indians (an employer that had let me go 2 years ago, before I completed my probationary period). Ironically enough, I am a newly-minted Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor with the Spokane Tribal Vocational Rehabilitation Program!

This week, the other Tribal VRC and I, plus the incredibly invaluable support staff, went to DVR to meet with a staff person who liaisons with schools and districts to coordinate VR services to high school students. When I walked into the lobby to announce that we were there, the three DVR employees (Rehab Techs) behind the counter gave me a small round of applause, in recognition of having gotten a job (in the same field)!

You can't beat persistence, can you?

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