Career Academy Prepares Counselors to Talk Disclosure

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Jason Hartsfield and Sarah Schwegel with the St. Louis MRA chapter board of directors.

Adult Career Services Coordinator Jason Hartsfield and Youth Transition Coordinator Sarah Schwegel delivered Starkloff Career Academy’s first continuing education program for disability service providers to an audience of over 70 on Wednesday, March 6th at the Center for Head Injury Services.

The training, titled Disability Disclosure Planning, was developed in partnership with the Missouri Rehabilitation Association. Hartsfield and Schwegel introduced service providers to the concept of disability disclosure as an ongoing process that occurs multiple times in a person’s life. Participants learned that a disclosure’s success depends on the context. Knowing what to say and when to say it requires people with disabilities to have a thorough understanding of their disability, the social norms of the setting, and the knowledge and expectations of the audience.

Service providers participated in activities designed to teach them how to work with their clients to develop a disclosure plan. Schwegel discussed disclosure in various college settings. Hartsfield then discussed the expectations of employers and how to disclose during a job interview.

“Starkloff’s presentation on disability disclosure was informational, engaging and enjoyable,” said Lesa Barber, president of the board of the St. Louis chapter of the MRA and Director of Business Outreach for Missouri Vocational Rehabilitation. “I really enjoyed the personal examples from the speakers.”

“This training is important to us,” said Hartsfield. “Starkloff alone can’t change the way people perceive disability. We need every service provider working with people with disabilities to spread the message that things won’t change until people with disabilities make themselves known.”

Starkloff Career Academy thanks Lesa Barber and the Missouri Rehabilitation Association for inviting us and the Center for Head Injury Services for hosting the event.

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