Identifying the job accommodation needs of American workers with mid-career neurological disabilities: A multiple case study investigation

Phillip Rumrill, Stuart Rumrill, Kathy Sheppard-Jones, Amy Rumrill, Michelle Graham-Smith, Bethaney Curry, Lakyn Wiley, Eden Fisher, Arsene Kabeya, Chithra Adams, Christina Espinosa-Bard, Jason Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has wrought an unprecedented toll on vocational rehabilitation efforts to assist workers with disabilities in maintaining their careers. OBJECTIVE: To demonstrate the use of a psychometrically sound assessment instrument and resource-driven planning procedure to help workers with disabilities resume or retain their employment. METHODS: Four employed people with neurological disabilities who took part in a larger job retention project funded by the United States Department of Labor completed structured interviews to determine their needs for employment accommodations during COVID-19. A trained interviewer administered the Work Experience Survey (WES) in teleconsultation sessions with each participant to identify: (a) barriers to worksite access, (b) difficulties performing essential job functions, (c) concerns regarding continued job mastery, and (d) extent of job satisfaction. RESULTS: Owing primarily to the sequelae of their disabling conditions and less so to social distancing requirements and telecommuting technology, participants reported a wide range of accessibility barriers and difficulties in performing essential functions of their jobs that they believed had the potential to significantly affect their ongoing productivity. Considering the stress and uncertainty that have accompanied the COVID-19 pandemic, it is surprising that the majority of participants reported high levels of job mastery and job satisfaction. CONCLUSION: The interviewer concluded the WES interview by recommending a job accommodation plan, which included suggestions from Job Accommodation Network (JAN) consultants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-129
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Vocational Rehabilitation
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The preparation of this article was funded by the United States Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy in the amount of $3.5 million under Cooperative Agreement No. OD-32548-18-75-4-21. This document does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Department of Labor, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 - IOS Press. All rights reserved.


  • COVID-19
  • Neurological disabilities
  • job retention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Occupational Therapy


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