Department of Psychiatric Rehabilitation & Behavioral Health Care
Spring, 2006





INSTRUCTOR: Janice Oursler, Ph.D., CRC
Phone: (908) 889-2462 E-mail:
Class Hours: Tues. 1:30 - 4:30
Office Hours: Tues. 4:30 - 5:30 or by appointment

Course Description: This course prepares rehabilitation counselors to become interpreters of medical information about major disabilities. The focus is on the functional and psychosocial aspects of disability. Topics which will receive special attention in the course are:
1. Interpretation of medical terminology and medical reports.
2. The implications of various disabilities for the functioning of individuals.
3. Psychosocial aspects of disability including the impact on both the individual and the family as well as their adjustments to the disability.
4. Responsibilities of various disciplines making up the medical treatment team.
5. Appropriate rehabilitation strategies and intervention resources including the use of assistive technology.

Course Goals: The goals of the course are to be able to:
1. Develop a basic knowledge of medical and psychological terminology and common medical abbreviations.
2. Understand the medical aspects of various disabilities including functional capabilities and limitations.
3. Discuss psychosocial implications of disabilities for individuals and their families and issues in adjusting to disabilities.
4. Obtain information quickly about medical conditions through researching the Internet and library resources.
5. Have an in-depth understanding of one disability.
6. Identify roles of the various disciplines of the medical treatment team and have knowledge of existing community resources for selected disabilities.

Course Objectives: By the end of this course, students will be able to:
1. Interpret medical and psychological terminology and common medical abbreviations.
2. Discuss the medical aspects and rehabilitation considerations and life planning considerations of at least 10 disabling conditions commonly seen in rehabilitation practice.
3. State and discuss factors and issues influencing adjustment to disabilities for individuals and their families and use this information in rehabilitation planning.
4. Use the Internet and the library to research information about various medical conditions and apply information to rehabilitation practice.
5. Describe in depth the incidence, etiology, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, prognosis, psychosocial implications and rehabilitation strategies for at least one disability.
6. Name relevant community resources for selected disabilities and be able to describe services and qualifications of related disciplines.

Required Texts:

Falvo, D. (2005). Medical and psychosocial aspects of chronic illness and disability (3rd
ed.). Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

Chan, F., Leahy, M.J., & Saunders (Eds.) (2005). Case management for rehabilitation health professionals (2nd ed.). Osage Beach, MO: Aspen Professional Services.
(Information about ordering this text is at

Recommended Texts: It is recommended students obtain a medical dictionary and a guidebook to medical terminology. Examples:

Stedman, T.L. (2000). Stedman’s medical dictionary. (27th ed.). New York: Lippincott,
Williams & Wilkins.

Lillis, C.A. (1997). A concise introduction to medical terminology. (4th ed.). New York: Prentice Hall.

Course Requirements:

Classroom participation: 5%
Web Quest: 10%
Article Reviews: 25%
Adjusting to Disability Paper: 30%
Mid-Term Examination: 15%
Final Examination: 15%

Grade Interpretation:

A = 92-100
B = 83-91
C = 75-82
D = 69-74
F = 68 or below
I = Incomplete (This grade is given only in extraordinary circumstances. Typically,
failure to complete assignments will result in a failing grade.)

Note: This is a required course for the M.S. in Rehabilitation Counseling. Failure to pass the course will require retaking the course. This is an elective course for the M.S. in Psychiatric Rehabilitation. Students from this degree who fail the course may retake the course or discuss with their advisor taking another elective. A grade of “C” or better is required to pass this course.

Course Evaluation:

The quality of this course is evaluated through student course evaluations completed at the end of the course and through the Department of Psychiatric Rehabilitation’s peer review process. As part of the peer review process, other faculty from the Department may attend class sessions to observe the course.


Students are encouraged to discuss requests for accommodations with the Instructor. Information about supported education services can be obtained from Michele Mullen at (908) 889-2513 or e-mail at You can also contact the Disability Compliance Coordinator, Karine Pierre-Pierre, at (973) 972-8594.

Additional Information on Course Requirements:

1. Classroom Participation: Taking part in class discussion and exercises is an important part of this course. Students are expected to complete assigned readings from the textbook and be prepared to discuss them in class. Students are also expected to read other assigned articles and readings in a timely manner and be prepared to present and discuss them in class as described under the projects section of the syllabus.

2. Projects: There are two projects to complete. Additional information and due dates for the projects will follow. All written work is to be typed and free of errors in spelling, grammar and usage. Projects will be presented and discussed in class.

Project 1: Web Quest: With permission from the instructor, select a specific disability and research it using the Internet. Use a search engine to locate at least 8 sites that contain medical information about the disability. Start your report with a brief description of this disability. For each web site, record the name and address of the site followed by a brief review of what the site contains and indicate who might find it useful (medical professional, rehabilitation professional, person with the disability, family member). Each review should be one to two paragraphs in length with a maximum of one page per review. Be prepared to make a short presentation of your results in class. In your presentation, you should explain what the disability your researched is as well as information about treatment and rehabilitation that you learned. If possible, provide copies of your Web Quest for other members of the class.

Project 2: Article Reviews: In consultation with the instructor, select five journal articles addressing research about medical and psychosocial aspects of disability. Write a brief review of each article of about two to three pages. Your review should include both a summary of the article, and your comments on how the article might be applied in rehabilitation counseling. In your review, use headings including 1) purpose of the study or article, 2) disability and population studied, 3) methods, 4) results, and 5) your reaction to the article and your thoughts on applications of the article to rehabilitation counseling practice. Use APA format to reference each article. Reviews which do not incorporate correct APA reference format will not qualify for an “A.” It is recommended that you hand in article reviews as you complete them so that you can receive feedback on your review. Be prepared to make a presentation on your article review in class.

3. Adjusting to Disability Paper: With permission from the instructor, select and read a book about a person with a disability that is discussed in this course. This book could be from either the person's or a family member's perspective. The person must be an adult. The disability must be different from the one you chose for the Web Quest. For example, if your Web Quest was on the topic of asthma, you might select a book about a person with a spinal cord injury. Read the two articles listed below which can be found on Academic Search Premier in the VALE database and the Chan, Leahy and Saunders text, chapters 6, 8, 9, 15, and 16. Research rehabilitation approaches for persons with this disability. Use all these materials as the framework for your report. Do NOT summarize the book in your report. Write a report about the person's experience with the disability focusing on functional and psychosocial aspects of the disability and how you would plan services for this person at a point in time when the person is considering going to work. Your paper should include the following sections: 1) a brief description of the person’s background, disability and circumstances; 2) discussion of functional limitations based on the framework from the Livneh and Male article concentrating at a point when the person is considering working (you must identify when this point in time is); and 3) Select a particular point in time in the person’s life and discuss what rehabilitation interventions you as a rehabilitation counselor would use based on your reading of the rehabilitation journal articles you have researched, the Chan, Leavy and Saunders text and the two Livneh articles. Be specific about the interventions you recommend and your reasons for selecting them. Label each section of your paper. Use APA format. Include all references in your list of references.

Livneh, H. (1989). Rehabilitation intervention strategies: Their integration and classification. Journal of Rehabilitation, 55 (2), 21-30.

Livneh, H. & Male, R. (1993). Functional limitations: A review of their characteristics and vocational impact. Journal of Rehabilitation, 59 (4), 44-50.

4. Mid-term and Final Examinations: The mid-term and final examinations will focus on assigned readings from the textbooks. They will be primarily multiple choice examinations. Additional information about the examinations will be given in class.



1/10 Orientation to course Falvo, Chapter 1
Medical treatment team disciplines
Introduction to medical terminology

1/17** Skin disorders and burns Falvo, Chapter 15
Kathy Conlon, R.N.
St. Barnabus Hospital Burn Center

1/24** Spinal cord injury Falvo, Chapter 3 (except
Guest Speaker: Steve Koltenuk, R.N. pps. 94-109),
SCI Acute Care Coordinator Chan, Chapter 20
Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation Read Case Example at
Spinal cord injury

1/31 HIV/AIDS Falvo, Chapter 8
Guest Speaker: Larry Barnett Chan, Chapter 21
Disorders of the blood and immune system
Medical Terminology (cont.)

2/7 Web Quest presentations Chan, Chapters 1 & 2
Medical terminology (cont.)
Web Quest papers due

2/14** Visual disabilities Falvo, Chapter 4
Guest Speakers: Ellen McCormick, R.N. Chan, Chapter 27
New Jersey Commission for the Blind & Visually Impaired

2/21** Respiratory disorders Falvo, Chapter 12
Al Heuer, MBA, RRT, RPFT, Program Director
UMDNJ Respiratory Care Program

Overview of psychosocial adaptation Falvo, Chapter 17 & 18
Assistive technology
Managed Care

3/7** Visual Disorders, Part II Chan, Chapters 8, 9 & 23
Visit to Kohn Center, NJ CBVI, New Brunswick

3/14** Hearing loss and deafness Falvo, Chapter 5
Patricia Tomlinson, Rehab. Consultant
Nancy Yarosh, New Jersey DVRS

3/21** Architectural Modifications
Guest Speaker: Barry Kolton
Endocrine disorders Falvo, Chapter 9
Cardiovascular disorders Falvo, Chapter 11
Article reviews due

3/28** Amputations Falvo, Chapter 14
Musculoskeletal and connective Chan, Chapter 22
tissue disorders
Guest Speaker: Ellen Anderson, MA, PT, GCS
Department of Physical Therapy, UMDNJ

4/4** Arthritis
Guest Speaker: Kathy Geller
Cancers Falvo, Chapter 16

4/11 Cancer Falvo, Chapters 10 & 13
Gastrointestinal disorders
Renal disorders
Adjusting to Disability Paper Due

Disability management and health promotion Chan, Chapters 13
Ethical Issues & 16

4/25 Review of examination

Note: Dates for specific topics may change due to scheduling of class presentations. The instructor will advise the class of schedule changes.

Rev. Spring 2006

Department of Psychiatric Rehabilitation

PSRT 5132: Medical Aspects of Disability

Topics for Web Quest

1. Post polio syndrome
2. Spina bifida
3. Ankylosing spondylitis
4. Sickle cell disease
5. Inflamatory bowel disease: Crohn’s disease
6. Chronic pain
7. Raynaud’s disease
8. Polycystic kidney disease
9. Hepatitis
10. Back pain
11. Muscular dystrophy
12. Dystonia
13. Work hardening
14. Aplastic anemia
15. Cirrhosis of the liver

Department of Psychiatric Rehabilitation
Spring, 2005


Article 1: Adaptation to spinal cord injury:

Academic Search Premier: VALE

1. Yasuda, S., Wehman, P., Targett, P., Cifu, D. X., & West, M. (2002). Return to work after spinal cord injury: A review of recent research. NeuroRehabilitation,17 (30, 177-

2. Mona, L. R., Krause, J.S., Norris, F.H., Cameron, R.P., Kalichman, S.C. & Lesondak, L.M. (2000). Sexual expression following spinal cord injury. NeuroRehabilitation, 15 (2), 121-

3. Crewe, N.M. (2000). A 20-year longitudinal perspective on the vocational experiences of persons with spinal cord injury. Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 43, (3), 122-

4. Wehman, P., Wilson, K., Targett, P., West, M., Bricout, J., & McKinley, W. (1999). Removing transportation barriers for persons with spinal cord injuries: An ongoing challenge to community reintegration. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 13 (1), 21-

5. Komisaruk, B.R. (2001). Women with complete spinal cord injury: A phenomenological study of sexual experiences. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 27 (5), 615-

6. Driscoll, M.P., Rodger, S. A., & Jonge, D.M. (2001). Factors that prevent or assist the integration of assistive technology into the workplace for people with spinal cord injuries: Perspectives of the users and their employers and co-workers. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 16 (1), 53-

7. McKinley, W., Tewksbury, M. A., Sitter, P., Reed, J., & Floyd, S. (2004). Assistive technology and computer adaptations for individuals with spinal cord injury. NeuroRehabilitation, 19 (2), 141-

8. Targett, P., Wehman, P., McKinley, W. O., & Young, C. (2005). Functional vocational assessment for individuals with spinal cord injury. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 22 (3), 149-

Article 2: Adaptation to visual impairments:

Academic Search Premier: VALE

1. Capella-McDonnall, M. E. (2005). Predictors of competitive employment for blind and visually impaired consumers of vocational rehabilitation services. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness,99, 303

2. Wolffe, K. E., & Candela, A.R. (2002). A qualitative analysis of employers' experiences with visually impaired workers. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, 96 (9), 622-

3. Lewis, S., Corn, A.L., Erin, J.N., & Holbrook, M.C. (2003). Strategies used by visually impaired teachers of students with visual impairments to manage the visual demands of their professional role. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, 97 (3), 157-

4. Crudden, A. (2002). Employment after vision loss: Results of a collective case study. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, 96 (9), 615-

5. O'Day, B. (1999). Employment barriers for people with visual impairments. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, 93 (10), 627-

6. Geruschat, D.R., & Turano, K. A. (2002). Connecting research on retinitis pigmentosa to the practice of orientation and mobility. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, 96 (2), 69-

7. Wolffe, K.E., Candela, T., & Johnson, G. (2003). Wired to work: A qualitative analysis of assistive technology training for people with visual impairments. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, 97, (11), 677-

8. Pankow, L., Luchins, D., Studebaker, J., & Chettleburgh, D. (2004). Evaluation of a vision rehabilitation program for older adults with visual impairment. Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation, 20 (3), 223-

Article 3: Adaptation to hearing impairments and deafness:

Academic Search Premier: VALE

1. Foster, S., & MacLeod, J. (2003). Deaf people at work: Assessment of communication among deaf and hearing persons in work settings. International Journal of Audiology, 42, (Sup. 1), S128-

2. Aguayo, M.O., & Coady, N.F (2001). The experience of deafened adults: Implications for rehabilitative services. Health & Social Work, 26 (4), 269-

3. Wheeler-Scruggs, K. (2003). Discerning characteristics and risk factors of people who are deaf and low functioning. Journal of Rehabilitation, 69 (4), p39-

4. Geyer, P.D. & Schroedel, J.G. (1999). Conditions influencing the availability of accommodations for workers who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. Journal of Rehabilitation, 65, (2), 42-

5. Balch, G.I. & Mertens, D.M. (1999). Focus group design and group dynamics: Lessons from deaf and hard of hearing participants. American Journal of Evaluation, 20 (2), 265-

6. Peters, S. (2001). Is there a disability culture? A syncretisation of three possible world views. Disability & Society, 15 (4), 583-

7. Hansen, E.M. (1999). Supported employment for people who are deaf: An overview of the unique needs and challenges. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 13 (3), 143-

8. Blumsack, J. T. (2003). Audiological assessment, rehabilitation, and spatial hearing considerations associated with visual impairment in adults: An overview. American Journal of Audiology, 12 (2), 76-

Article 4: Adaptation to cancer or heart disease

Academic Search Premier: Vale

Adaptation to cancer:
1. Livneh, H. (2000). Psychosocial adaptation to cancer: The role of coping strategies. Journal of Rehabilitation, 66 (2), 40-

2. Schnoll, R. A.; Harlow, L. L. & Brower, L. (2000). Spirituality, demographic and disease factors, and adjustment to cancer. Cancer Practice, 8 (6), 298-

3. Allen, S., & Carlson, G. (2003). To conceal or disclose a disabling condition? A dilemma of employment transition. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 19
(1), 19-

4. Fialka-Moser, V., Crevenna, R., Korpan, M., & Quittan, M. (2003). Cancer rehabilitation. Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine, 35 (4), 153-

5. Tan, G., Waldman, K. & Bostick, R. (2002). Psychosocial issues, sexuality, and cancer. Sexuality & Disability, 20 (4), 297-

Adaptation to heart disease:
6. Livneh, H. (1999). Psychosocial adaptation to heart diseases: The role of coping strategies. Journal of Rehabilitation, 65 (3), 24-

7. Drory, Y., Kravetz, S., Koren-Morag, N., & Goldbourt, U. (2005). Resumption and maintenance of employment after a first acute myocardial infarction: sociodemographic, vocational and medical predictors. Cardiology, 103, 37-

8. Shrey, D. E., & Mital, A. (2000) Accelerating the return to work (RTW) chances of coronary heart disease (CHD) patients: part 2 - development and validation of a vocational rehabilitation programme. Disability & Rehabilitation, 22 (13/14), 621-

Article 5: Adaptation to other disabilities

Academic Search Premier: Vale

Adaptation to renal disease:
1. Kimmel, P.L. (2001). Psychosocial factors in dialysis patients. Kidney International, 59 (4), 1599-

Adaptation to respiratory disease:
2. Eisner, M.D., Yelin, E.H., Trupin, L., & Blanc, P.D. (2002). The influence of chronic respiratory conditions on health status and work disability. American Journal of Public Health, 92 (9), 1506-

Adaptation to arthritis:
3. Allaire, S.H., Wei L., & LaValley, M.P. (2003). Work barriers experienced and job accommodations used by persons with arthritis and other rheumatic diseases. Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 46 (3), 147-

Adaptation to diabetes:
4. Lavigne, J.E., Phelps, C.E., Mushlin, A., & Lednar, W.M. (2003). Reductions in individual work productivity associated with type 2 diabetes mellitus. PharmacoEconomics, 21 (15), 1123-

5. Leonard, J. (2003). Diabetes self-management education research: An international review of intervention methods, theories, community partnerships and outcomes. Disease Management & Health Outcomes, 11 (7), 415-

Adaptation to HIV/AIDS:
6. Glenn, M. K., Ford, J., Moore, D., & Hollar, D. (2003). Employment issues as related by Individuals living with HIV or AIDS. Journal of Rehabilitation, 69 (1), 30-

7. Conyers, L. M. (2004). Expanding understanding of HIV/AIDS and employment: Perspectives of focus groups. Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 48 (1), 5-

8. Breuer, N. L. (2005). Teaching the HIV-positive client how to manage the workplace. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 22,163-

9. Conyers, L., & Boomer, K. B. (2005). Factors associated with disclosure of HIV/AIDS to employers among individuals who use job accommodations and those who do not. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 22, 189-

Adaptation to musculoskeletal disorders:
10. Gallagher, P. & MacLachlan, M. (1999). Psychological adjustment and coping in adults with prosthetic limbs. Behavioral Medicine, 25 (3), 117-124.

11. Bodenheimer, C., Kerrigan, A.J., Garber, S.L., & Monga, T.N. (2000). Sexuality in persons with lower extremity amputations. Disability & Rehabilitation, 22 (9), 409-

12. Tepermen, L. J. (2002). Active functional restoration and work hardening program returns patient with 2 1/2-year-old elbow fracture-dislocation to work after 6 months: a case report. Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association, 46 (1), 22-

Adaptation to sickle cell disease:
13. Thomas, V.J., & Taylor, L.M. (2002). The psychosocial experience of people with sickle cell disease and its impact on quality of life: Qualitative findings from focus groups. British Journal of Health Psychology, 7 (3), 345-

Other Topics:
14. Gordon, P. A., Tschopp, M. K., & Feldman, D. (2004). Addressing Issues of Sexuality with Adolescents with Disabilities. Child & Adolescent Social Work Journal, 21, 513-
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