How to Use a Disability Needs Assessment to Find Out Which Services are Best for You
When people with disabilities want to get help, they need to first get a disability needs assessment. Assessments are important because they paint an accurate picture of what’s really going on with someone. This matters because then the most appropriate and beneficial services can be arranged in order to help an individual become as self-sufficient and independent as possible. This is especially true when the person is dealing with one or more disabilities.
When an adult with a disability agrees to be assessed for services, certain things must be taken into account. Adults may have specific perceptions of their capabilities, or lack thereof, and these perceptions should be acknowledged. How an individual sees him- or herself directly affects what services they accept or refuse.
The Assessment Process
Before an assessment takes place, the person being assessed needs to know when, where, how long, and why the assessment is taking place. Otherwise, it’s like being ambushed, and no one is at their best when something is sprung on them. If a person is resistant to the idea of being assessed, for whatever reason, certain aspects of the assessment can be de-emphasized, but the fact that it needs to happen cannot be negotiable.
- Purpose of the assessment – Is it to determine whether a person with a disability qualifies for monetary compensation, such as Social Security Disability Income (SSDI)? Is it to figure out whether a disability is physical, mental, or both? Has a doctor already diagnosed the disability and now the extent and nature of the help needed is being assessed (This is something RISE can help with)?
- Type of assessment – Written? Verbal, with a written report made by the person conducting the assessment? Physical, in which the person being assessed has to perform certain actions, such as standing and sitting without holding onto anything X times in Y seconds. Mental, in which a person has, among other tasks, a time limit to solve a puzzle? Developmental, in which the purpose is to determine if a person can perform certain age-appropriate or developmental stage-appropriate actions?
- What the assessment entails – Is the person expected to read and write down their responses to questions, or does the person conducting the assessment ask the questions and mark down the disabled person’s verbal responses?
- Amount of time needed for the assessment – Some assessments only take a few minutes. Others require several hours to complete, depending on what is being assessed and how it is being assessed.
It’s important to get assessed because there are lots of services that exist to help those that have disabilities, like day services, residential services, and employment. Getting assessed opens doors. If you would like some help with the disability assessment process or have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact RISE Services. The facility closest to you can be found via our website: www.riseservices.org . Helping is what we’re here for.