Vocational Rehabilitation: Background information when reading Tumbledown

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Tumbledown

by Robert Boswell

Tumbledown by Robert Boswell
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Aug 2013, 448 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2014, 456 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Norah Piehl

Buy This Book

About this Book

Beyond the Book:
Vocational Rehabilitation

Print Review

Part of what brings together the characters in Tumbledown is their participation in a vocational rehabilitation program—in this case, training in an assembly-line setup designed to teach them to work on an actual factory floor. As portrayed in the novel, this type of work not only offers patients (modest) financial compensation, it also prepares them for real life after rehab.

Vocational rehabilitation and/or training is part of the treatment program for many conditions; the state of Texas's Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services lists a wide variety of disabilities—ranging from mental illness to hearing impairment—for which vocational rehabilitation might be appropriate. Part of the impetus for such programs is the stated goal of many patients to obtain employment and thereby gain entry into the "normal" economy and society and achieve a sense of self-fulfillment, independence, and self-reliance.

The type of training program depicted in Tumbledown is what's known as a "sheltered workshop," in which patients with disabilities work on a supervised production line in a segregated environment performing a variety of tasks, which can include assembly, packaging, or shipping. The workers are paid—usually by the piece—for their work. Ideally, the goal is to eventually transition into an integrated workforce. The Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders argues that this type of segregated scenario is less preferable than a training program that is integrated from the start, listing "integrated setting" alongside "individual choice" and "person-centered planning" as best practices for professionals interested in providing vocational training to their clients. Integrated setting means the employment is provided in a more routine environment, while person-centered planning involves developing a plan of action involving the client in decisions.

Despite strong federal support and the fact that every state has an agency whose function it is to provide these types of services to those with mental illness and other disabilities, vocational training and rehabilitation programs have garnered a fair amount of criticism. According to some sources, more than 70 percent of people with disabilities are unemployed; those with mental disorders can experience unemployment rates approaching 90 percent. A 1997 report by the National Alliance on Mental Illness argued that federal and state programs have by and large failed those with mental disabilities, particularly severe mental illness, primarily by providing little support in the way of job placement services and ongoing support once a placement has been successfully obtained. The organization's several recommendations for strengthening the system argue for more oversight of and accountability by these vocational rehab programs, as well as education and legislation aimed at reducing workplace discrimination by the general population against those with mental illness.

Article by Norah Piehl

This article was originally published in September 2013, and has been updated for the September 2014 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

This article is available to non-members for a limited time. You can also read these articles for free. For full access become a member today.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    The Noise of Time
    by Julian Barnes
    Confession: I do two terrible – some say unforgivable – things while reading a book. First...
  • Book Jacket
    Smoke
    by Dan Vyleta
    In Dan Vyleta's universe, set in an alternate Victorian England, people engaging in sinful thought ...
  • Book Jacket: Golden Hill
    Golden Hill
    by Francis Spufford
    Spufford brings American history to raucous life through the story of Mr. Richard Smith, a ...

Win this book!
Win The Library of Light and Shadow

The Library of Light and Shadow by M.J. Rose

"Possibly her best yet. A sensuous, sumptuous, and spellbinding novel." - Kirkus Reviews

Enter

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Almost Sisters
    by Joshilyn Jackson

    A powerful, emotionally resonant novel of the South.
    Reader Reviews

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T H Are B T O

and be entered to win..

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

A richly layered novel of hearts broken seemingly beyond repair and then bound by a stunning act of human devotion.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.