Academic journal article The Journal of Rehabilitation

The National Rehabilitation Administration Association

Academic journal article The Journal of Rehabilitation

The National Rehabilitation Administration Association

Article excerpt


The purposes of the division shall be to improve administrative and supervisory practices by:

1. Promoting the highest administrative and supervisory ethical practices.

2. Upgrading of professional standards in administration and supervision.

3. Helping to develop a specific body of knowledge in this field and working to disseminate that knowledge as it evolves.

4. Encouraging and supporting professional training opportunities.

5. Providing a forum for discussion.

6. Encouraging and stimulating systematic scientific research and enlightened inquiry.

7. Developing methods of close communication with other professional groups dedicated to rehabilitation.

8. Reflecting the needs of the practicing National Rehabilitation Administration Association membership to the Association.

9. Relating closely to the other NRA divisions for mutual planning and advancement of rehabilitation (NRAA Policy Procedures Manual, 1994, p. 3).


The Founding Years

The origin of the National Rehabilitation Administration Association is traced to the founding of its parent organization, the National Rehabilitation Association (NRA). The early leaders in the formation of NRA were directors and supervisors in the state vocational rehabilitation agencies. NRA leadership focused upon significant problems facing the State-Federal program and the agencies that were involved in services to the nation's vocationally handicapped youth and adults. Throughout the early years of NRA (1923-1975), membership in NRA became a prerequisite to employment in many of the state vocational rehabilitation agencies (Oberman, 1965).

The initiation of divisions within the National Rehabilitation Association, with the founding of the National Rehabilitation Counseling Association in 1958, was viewed by many administrators in the State-Federal vocational rehabilitation organizations as an unnecessary fragmentation of focus and a potentially dangerous dilution of resources and efforts. It was not until 1968 that a group of educators, administrators and supervisors with an interest in forming a professional administration division were able to mount a real attempt that met with success. The founding group selected the Administrative and Supervisory Practices Division (ASPD) of the National Rehabilitation Association as the name (Sales and Harcleroad, 1981). During these founding years, the leadership of the division was vested in the following Presidents: Sol Richman (North Carolina, 1968); Reuben Margolin (Massachusetts, 1969); and Vivian Shepard (Missouri, 1970).

The stated purpose of ASPD was to advance the field of administrative and supervisory practices in all areas of rehabilitation activities in order that all personnel working in a rehabilitation setting could achieve maximum use of all resources, including themselves, in promoting the rehabilitation of people with disabilities. At this time, a major concern of State-Federal administrators was legislative support at the Federal and State levels. Support for such legislation became a major activity. Membership in the division was extended to all NRA members employed in an administrative supervisory, instructional or research position in the broad field of rehabilitation (Richman, 1968).

Period of Growth and Expansion

During the next three years, 1971-1973, significant strides were experienced by the rehabilitation field with increased funding of governmental programs, increased numbers of persons employed to work with the nation's handicapped population and increased community agency involvement. ASPD acted on these initiatives. The membership base was expanded to include administrators, managers and supervisors in rehabilitation facilities, institutions for the mentally retarded and the mentally ill and public schools that provided services to the clients of the State-Federal Vocational Rehabilitation program. …

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