Academic journal article The Journal of Rehabilitation

The National Rehabilitation Association

Academic journal article The Journal of Rehabilitation

The National Rehabilitation Association

Article excerpt

Voluntary associations have been one of the unique characteristics of our American democracy. Through these organizations, people with common interests and goals may freely gather together and organize to carry out their purposes. The National Rehabilitation Association epitomizes the influence which voluntary associations have had in the development of our society and its institutions, for NRA has been one of the primary leaders in the development of rehabilitation in this country as it relates to legislation, programs, and attitudes. NRA is unquestionably one of the oldest and strongest advocates for persons with disabilities.


The purpose of the National Rehabilitation Association as outlined in its constitution is to advance rehabilitation of all persons with disabilities by--

"(1) exercising leadership in identifying the needs of the

handicapped individuals, interpreting these needs to society,

planning and promoting programs designed to meet

these needs and translating such programs into services at

the community level. (2) Identifying the essential elements

in the practice of rehabilitation and fostering the development

and application of standards which will help to assure

effective services to people with disabilities. (3) Exercising

leadership in developing concepts and practices which will

foster inter-agency and interprofessional activity directed

toward helping individuals with disabilities increase their

ability to function. (4) Encouraging the entry of competent

and humanitarian individuals to the rehabilitation professions

and fostering training opportunities required to make

them effective practitioners. (5) Encouraging the search for

improved methods and techniques in the organization,

administration, and practice of rehabilitation and fostering

the dissemination and evaluation of such findings. (6)

Exercising leadership in removing environmental and legal

barriers and overcoming discrimination which keeps individuals

with disabilities from living normal lives and enjoying

the rights and benefits that should be the heritage of

every American citizen. (pg. 1)."

NRA advances the purpose of the Association by performing two important and related roles in rehabilitation. These may be described as an advocacy or social action role and a professional role. The social action role of NRA is, generally speaking, very well understood. Historically, NRA has studied the needs of people with disabilities on national, state and local levels, has attempted to educate the public with respect to such needs, and has recommended and promoted programs nationally and locally to help meet such needs. It continues to be the national organization in the best position to render this service, and its leadership in this area of activity is accepted by many other national organizations that are concerned with rehabilitation.

NRA has an equally important and unique professional role to meet in rehabilitation. It is to provide the support needed to assist individuals with various professional backgrounds become, in the truest sense of the word "professionals." In keeping with this role, NRA organizationally supports development of professions through its divisions, which have distinguished histories of impact. NRA financial and organizational support of these efforts is based on a commitment to provision of the best quality of service to individuals with disabilities.

A related aspect of these roles is to bring together rehabilitation professionals, persons with disabilities, business and industry and interested citizens so they may better understand their respective roles in rehabilitation and learn to work together to achieve their common goal.


The following provides a brief history of NRA much of which is paraphrased from the work of Lavis and Lavis (1975), Obermann (1975), and Sales (1981, 1983) which could be reviewed by the reader for more detail and a better sense of the impact of individuals on the Association. …

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