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Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities 

Section I. Introduction

This report provides Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) with findings and recommendations related to the vocational rehabilitation (VR) needs of Ohioans with disabilities.

Recent Trends in Funding and Past and Current Needs Assessments

The current needs assessment builds upon the methodologies developed from the 2015 CSNA by evaluating OOD’s ability to meet the demand for VR services and OOD’s balance in serving the cross-section of individuals with disabilities who are seeking employment, estimated for 2019. These data were considered critical in order to develop policy and resource allocation recommendations responsive to future needs. Procedures and specific data were collected in response to recent changes in funding trends. Responses to recommendations from the 2015 CSNA are highlighted, as well as financial and service trend data in sections of the CSNA.

Purpose of the Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment

The primary purpose of OOD’s vocational rehabilitation CSNA is to provide a basis for allocating resources to support individuals with a variety of disabilities in Ohio. In order to make policy decisions about the optimal distribution of resources, this CSNA delivers information to OOD about disability prevalence in each of Ohio’s 88 counties. Prevalence is defined as the total number of estimated cases present in a specific population and location at a particular point in time (Green & Kreuter, 1991). Prevalence rate is calculated by dividing the number of individuals reporting a disability by the total number of individuals in the population (Erickson, Lee, & von Schrader, 2016). Individuals served by OOD’s VR program are divided into one of the following categories: visual impairments, hearing impairments, communicative impairments, physical impairments, psychosocial impairments, or cognitive impairments.

OOD’s 2015 CSNA provided the basis to find estimates of the prevalence of disabilities consistent with the classification system for disabilities used by OOD and defined by the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA). Although definitions of a specific category of disability may not precisely match definitions used by OOD or definitions that facilitate clinical practice, the prevalence estimates used in the CSNA and corresponding definitions were the most appropriate for estimating the prevalence of disabilities consistent with the classification system used by OOD.

All prevalence figures and other projections cited in the CSNA are estimates and are intended to represent the magnitude of prevalence of specific disabilities in specific counties in Ohio. It is appropriate to use such figures and comparisons across counties and categories of disabilities in conjunction with other information to support planning and policy development. However, prevalence and other projections are not representative of the precise number of individuals with specific disabilities.

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