04/01/2005

Mapping Careers with LD and ADD Clients: Guidebook and Case Studies

Book Review by Sarah Lucas Hartley and Beth Lulgjuraj

Review of Janus, R. (1999). Mapping careers with LD and ADD clients: Guidebook and case studies. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.

Are you well equipped to provide career counseling to individuals who have a learning disability or Attention Deficit Disorder? If not, you may want to read Mapping Careers with LD and ADD Clients by Raizi Abby Janus. Janus uses tables to summarize the wealth of information she shares in her book and shows practical utility through her case studies. She incorporates her 20 years of career counseling experience with her assessment and teaching background to provide readers with insight into the personal dimension of learning disabilities and Attention Deficit Disorder.

Around 15 percent of the nation has been diagnosed with a learning disability (LD) or Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). Having a hidden disability makes individuals more vulnerable when looking for a job. When learning disabilities and Attention Deficit Disorder are unknown by employers, this may lead to false impressions of one's job performance and social behaviors. It is important for hidden disabilities to be recognized and for the individuals to understand how their strengths and limitations may affect their work so appropriate accommodations can be made.

Many career practitioners, members of the business community, and the public are not aware of the issues faced by individuals with LD or ADD. The author makes the point that educating these people about ADD and LD can improve the likelihood of individuals who have LD or ADD in attaining and maintaining employment as well as in preventing misconceptions of job performance and behavior. One main purpose of this book is to increase knowledge of LD and ADD issues, but the author has not made it extremely readable for people outside of the counseling profession.

Janus has much to offer employers and counseling practitioners on the issues faced by and best practices for working with individuals who have LD or ADD. This book is one of few that addresses the needs of counseling practitioners, employers, and individuals with LD or ADD. As Wren and Wren (2001) mention, this "book is the first to address career counsellors on these issues (p. 301)." We believe this book is important and relevant, despite its age because the career issues faced by these clients have not changed over the past six years. Janus provides a wealth of knowledge dealing with assessing, counseling, and referring clients with ADD or LD. If employers read this book, they might feel overwhelmed by the content, but appendices two through five provide relevant information in a clear and concise format. Appendix two describes the Americans with Disabilities Act, appendices three and four list occupations/job duties and their relation to level of functioning, and appendix five is very helpful in determining suitable and economical accommodations for four deficits. Some information can assist employers in working constructively with employees who have LD or ADD, but that is not the focus of the book. Certain sections of the book are useful for researchers who study adults who have LD or ADD by providing evidence from a variety of case studies, which document commonly encountered and more complex profiles.

The author informs the reader how to screen for learning disabilities and Attention Deficit Disorder, but most career counselors do not do much of this because it is not their area of expertise. This is a good book for a career counselor who specializes in working with clients who have LD or ADD, but otherwise this may be an overwhelming amount of information for someone who does often not work with this population. The bulk of the information in this book is very specific and too in depth for brief staff-assisted career counseling. The majority of this book is more useful for individual counseling, especially the discussion of psychological assessments, such as the 16 PF and the MMPI-2. The assessments many brief staff-assisted counselors utilize are not addressed, including the Self-Directed Search and computer-assisted career guidance systems. With that said, there is also some very useful information for brief staff-assisted counseling that can be taken from this book, e.g., the importance of identifying goals and formulating steps to reach those goals; being very detailed when identifying strengths and weaknesses; understanding issues individuals with LD or ADD may be dealing with and the effects of the disability(s); and the importance of focusing on potential success, rather than previous failures. The book also includes examples of potential problems on the job as well as accommodations that career advisors may want to address with their clients.

Mapping Careers with LD and ADD Clients by Raizi Abby Janus not only provides guidelines for assessment and treatment, but also informs employers about the issues and effects of hidden disabilities. Wren and Wren (2001) point out that Janus' book has great "potential for changing its readers' minds and hearts (301)." This book enhances the reader's awareness of the cognitive, emotional, and social aspects of learning disabilities and Attention Deficit Disorder. In addition, the appendices serve as a great reference tool allowing counselors to feel more confident in the services they provide to individuals with hidden disabilities.

Reference

Wren, T. E., & Wren, C. T. (2001). Fairness, the pursuit of happiness, and LD/ADHD. Journal of Moral Education, 30, 299-302.




Sarah Lucas Hartley is a counseling psychology doctoral student and a research assistant at Florida State University's Career Center and can be reached at shartley@admin.fsu.edu

Beth Lulgjuraj is the Assistant Director of Curricular-Career Information Service at Florida State University's Career Center. She can be reached at blulgjuraj@admin.fsu.edu.


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