HANDS in Autism® as a Vocational Rehabilitation Provider

HANDS in Autism® is now accessible for evaluation and programming services through Vocational Rehabilitation for some of this specialized support. HANDS in Autism® is a training, resource, and service center that supports individuals with the most significant and complex disabilities inclusive of not only ASD and ID/DD but a range of neurodevelopmental disorders. Services are provided to assist those between transition and adult ages in engaging successfully in a number of settings and contexts inclusive of worksites in addition to work preparation and readiness.


Services provided include the following:

Evaluation for the purpose(s) of:

  • Independent evaluation to assess job interests and skills and/or preparedness for specific job skills, duties, and roles with attention to behavior planning, accommodations and strategies and general programming to improve behaviors and functioning at the worksite and/or within community transitions.
  • Job shadowing, experiential learning and observation to assist with employment planning.

Job readiness training - Training provided to prepare an individual for the world of work (e.g., appropriate social work behaviors, getting to work on time, appropriate dress and grooming, increasing productivity and accuracy).

Supported employment interventions involve specialized consultation within community employment or training for employment settings to address specific functional or behavioral needs of individuals at risk of losing employment.

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We are happy to form this partnership and to be available to help you serve this very special population. Please see your regional office to learn specific details as to how to engage HANDS in Autism®, contact us at any time at hands@iupui.edu, or complete a request to learn more!

HANDS in Autism® as a Pre-Employment Transition Provider

The Rehabilitation Act, as reauthorized under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), mandates that pre-ETS be specifically provided (and therefore only provided) to “students with disabilities.” A “student with a disability,” for purposes of this contract, includes students in secondary school between the ages of 14 through the school year in which the student becomes 22, who is eligible for, and receiving, special education or related services under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or is an individual with a disability for purposes of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Pre-ETS may be provided to students who are applicants of or eligible for the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program (consumers) and students with disabilities who may be potentially eligible for the VR program. For the purposes of this contract, a student aged 14 to 22 years old in the following categories is considered “potentially eligible” for the provision of VR Services, regardless of whether the student has applied for or has been determined eligible for VR services if the student:

  • 1) Receives special education services pursuant to 511 IAC 7;
  • 2) Receives accommodations pursuant to a Section 504 plan; or
  • 3) Is a student who is an individual with a disability, for purposes of Section 504.

For the purposes of this contract, contractors will only be reimbursed for providing pre-ETS to students with a disability. If a student with a disability requires services that are beyond the scope of pre-ETS, the student must apply for and be determined eligible for VR services and develop an individualized plan for employment for the receipt of those services.

The contractor shall provide the following required pre-ETS activities to students with disabilities:

(1) Job exploration counseling: This includes, but is not limited to, interest and ability surveys, reviewing career websites, high school based courses on career choices, or other similar activities.

  • Job exploration counseling on an individual basis could include administration and discussion of the student’s vocational interest inventory results, in-demand occupations, career pathways, and local labor market information that applies to those particular interests.
  • Job exploration counseling in a group setting may include information regarding in-demand industry sectors and occupations, as well as non-traditional employment, labor market composition, administration of vocational interest inventories, and identification of career pathways of interest to the students.

(2) Work-based learning experiences: This includes, but is not limited to, paid or non-paid work experiences in the community, volunteer work, job shadows, short or long-term internships, on the job training, apprenticeships (not including pre-apprenticeships and Registered Apprenticeships) and employer mentoring activities that are provided in a competitive, integrated environment to the maximum extent possible.

  • Work-based learning experiences on an individual basis may include work experiences to explore the student’s area of interest through paid and unpaid internships, apprenticeships, short-term employment, fellowships, or on-the-job trainings located in the community.
  • Work-based learning experiences in a group setting may include coordinating a school-based program of job training and informational interviews to research employers, work-site tours to learn about necessary job skills, job shadowing, or mentoring opportunities in the community. All work based training activities must be provided in competitive, integrated settings to the maximum extent possible. Mobile work crews or other “enclave” type situations are not allowed. However, group tours as part of a job shadowing opportunity (where no actual work is performed) are allowed.
  • If work-based learning experiences are paid, students with disabilities must receive payment equal to wages paid to students without disabilities in similar experiences.
  • Job coaching is not an allowable activity under pre-ETS and may not be billed under any of the other required activities. For the purposes of this contract, job coaching is defined as offering individualized training, based on a student’s disability, through structured intervention techniques at the job site and can only be provided through an approved IPE using funds that have not been reserved for the provision of pre-ETS.
  • (3) Counseling on opportunities for enrollment in comprehensive transition or postsecondary educational programs at institutions of higher education: This includes, but is not limited to, exploration of the wide range of career pathways (e.g., agriculture, manufacturing, etc.), counseling on postsecondary training opportunities including community colleges, universities, and counseling to support a smooth transition from high school to postsecondary education (e.g., documenting and advocating for accommodations, identifying financial aid options, etc.).

    • Counseling on opportunities for enrollment in comprehensive transition or postsecondary educational programs at institutions of higher education on an individual basis, may include advising students and parents or representatives on academic curricula, college application and admissions processes, completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and resources that may be used to support individual student success in education and training, which could include disability support services.
    • Counseling on opportunities for enrollment in comprehensive transition or postsecondary educational programs at institutions of higher education in a group setting may include information on course offerings, career options, the types of academic and occupational training needed to succeed in the workplace, and postsecondary opportunities associated with career fields or pathways.

    (4) Workplace readiness training to develop social skills and independent living: This includes, but is not limited to, soft-skills training, employability skills training, social/interpersonal skills (e.g., communication, problem solving, decision making, conflict resolution, empathy, professionalism, etc.) and independent living skills training (e.g., good hygiene, money management, orientation and mobility training, time management, appropriate dress, appropriate behavior, etc.).

    • Workplace readiness training includes programming to develop social skills and independent living, such as communication and interpersonal skills, financial literacy, orientation and mobility skills, job- seeking skills, understanding employer expectations for punctuality and performance, as well as other “soft” skills necessary for employment. These services, in either individual or group settings, may include instruction, as well as opportunities to acquire and apply knowledge. These services may be provided in a generalized manner in a classroom setting or be tailored to an individual’s needs in a training program provided in an educational or community setting.

    (5) Instruction in self-advocacy: This includes, but is not limited to, instruction in self-awareness, disability disclosure, requesting accommodations, understanding rights and responsibilities, self-determination, etc. and mentoring including peer mentoring. Instruction in self-advocacy on an individual basis may include assisting students in learning about their rights, responsibilities, and how to request accommodations or services and supports needed during the transition from secondary to postsecondary education and employment. Other individual opportunities may be arranged for students to conduct informational interviews or mentor with educational staff such as principals, nurses, teachers, or office staff; or they may mentor with individuals employed by or volunteering for employers, boards, associations, or organizations in integrated community settings. Students may also participate in youth leadership activities offered in education or community settings.

    • Instruction in self-advocacy in a group setting may include generalized classroom lessons in which students learn about their rights, responsibilities, and how to request accommodations or services and supports needed during the transition from secondary to postsecondary education and employment. During these lessons, students may share their thoughts, concerns, and needs, in order to prepare them for peer mentoring opportunities with individuals working in their area(s) of interest.

    2. Who Can Receives it

    Pre-ETS: Students who are between 14-22 years of age, with a documented disability, and enrolled in an educational program (e.g., homeschool, charter, private, public).

    VR: Transition-aged individuals (14+ years but often post-secondary and beyond) that need added support to reach their vocational potential. The state is under an order of selection period where only those with the most significant disabilities are served and others go to a differed list.

    3. Process

    Pre-ETS: Our services involve an intake interview where we determine the categories (see categories above) for which services are needed for the student, discern the best fit among service types (6-month internship, individual services, small-group workshop (3-day workshop for individuals), or small group non-consecutive sessions (1 or 2+ doing 4 or more sessions over the course of a semester)).

    VR: Services and activities address individual goals and needs and either involve evaluation, job readiness training, or community-based support. Work and teaching aligns these goals with a shorter duration of 3-6 months on average but can be up to 18-24 months as a max.

    4. Duration

    Pre-ETS:For the duration of the time while the above noted criteria are met.

    5. Location

    Pre-ETS & VR: These services can be delivered on or offsite (within a school or community-based setting).



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