Rehabilitation professionals in North America: Their perceived level of knowledge pertaining to essential information regarding learning disabilities

Date of Completion

January 1999


Health Sciences, Rehabilitation and Therapy|Education, Guidance and Counseling|Education, Special




The state-federal program of vocational rehabilitation was instituted in the 1920s. Legislation has been its major influencing factor, by defining target populations or services, and allocating monies to states as well as institutions of higher education for the training of vocational rehabilitation professionals. Individuals with learning disabilities represent one of the most recent target populations covered by vocational rehabilitation legislative mandates. Individuals with learning disabilities, ages 16 to 24, now make up one of the largest groups applying for services. However, there are many indicators pointing to the lack of adequately trained vocational rehabilitation professionals to assist this population. ^ This study surveyed vocational rehabilitation professionals in an attempt to ascertain their perceived level of knowledge regarding learning disabilities. A 21 item, 5-point Likert scale instrument was developed for this assessment. The survey was sent to 800 vocational rehabilitation professionals associated with the National Rehabilitation Counseling Association (NRCA). Fifty-seven percent responded. The analyses incorporated descriptive and inferential statistical procedures. Despite indications in the literature, the respondents overwhelmingly perceived themselves as having an average level of knowledge about learning disabilities. The implications and limitations of this study were discussed. ^