Answered Questions: Monthly News for the Disability Community for November 2018

Answered Questions is a monthly resource for the Spanish language Disability Community that fills an information need. This month’s question is: I want to enter one of the health professions. Where do I start? This edition of Answered Questions includes items that define the term health professional; discuss interventions designed to increase providers’ skill in working with youth with mental health conditions; autism spectrum disorder and speech-language pathologists; peer support specialists and people with mental health conditions; directed recreational activities, virtual reality, and stroke; 10 functions of social workers; recreational and play therapies; the importance of seeing an audiologist; and clinical pharmacists. More about Answered Questions.

What are Health Professions?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), health professionals (English) “play a central and critical role in improving access and quality health care” for everyone and they “provide essential services that promote health, prevent diseases, and deliver health care services to individuals, families, and communities based on the primary health care approach.” The first professions that come to mind when one thinks about health professions may be doctors and nurses. However, health professions include audiologists, dental assistants and dental hygienists, occupational/physical/speech therapists, peer support providers, recreation therapists and activity professionals, dietitians, pharmacists, public health professionals, social workers, and even veterinarians! To work in these professions, a person pursuing one of these careers must have special training, from certifications to Master and Doctorate degrees. The articles and resources below will give you an idea about some of these professions.

NIDILRR-Funded Projects:

The Research and Training Center for Pathways to Positive Futures: Building Self-Determination and Community Living and Participation (Pathways RTC) (90RT5030) (English) is developing and evaluating two interventions designed to increase providers’ skill in working with youth and young adults with mental health conditions to increase their self-determination and enhance their community living and participation. The first, Technology-Enhanced Coaching for Positive Development (English), focuses on providers and their supervisors; while the second, AMP+: Developing the Young Adult Peer Support Workforce (English), works with young adult peer support providers and their supervisors and agency administrators. Take a look at the second item in the Resources section of this edition of Answered Questions to learn more about peer support specialists.

From the NARIC Collection:

The article, Family-centered services for children with ASD and limited speech: The experiences of parents and speech-language pathologists (J78949) (English) from the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Augmentative and Alternative Communication (The RERC on AAC) (90RE5017) (English), discusses a study that explored how families of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and limited speech receive services from speech-language pathologists (SLPs). Researchers found that parents and SLPs differed in their views on the degree to which family-centered services were being implemented. The article also discusses clinical implications and future research directions.

Research In Focus:

The article, Peer Support Specialists May Offer Unique Support for People with Psychiatric Disabilities in Finding and Keeping Jobs (English), discusses a recent NIDILRR-funded study from Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Improving Employment Outcomes for Individuals with Psychiatric Disabilities (90RT5029) (English) that looked at the relationship between people psychiatric disabilities and peer support specialists. Participants in the study mentioned three important aspects of their relationships with peer support specialists: Building core connections, versatile approaches, and emotional support. The authors noted that peer support specialists can play an important role in job-related services for people with psychiatric disabilities and future research may be useful to examine the impact of peer support specialists on employment and job satisfaction for people with psychiatric disabilities. The article is also available in Spanish.


The article, The practice of directed recreational activities can be as effective as virtual reality for stroke rehabilitation (NeuroLleida), discusses the results of a study published in The Lancet that show that performing simple recreational activities can be as effective as performing virtual reality activities to help people who have experienced a stroke to regain strength and motor coordination. The study was realized in 14 centers in Canada, Argentina, Peru, and Thailand where patients were divided into a group that used the Nintendo Wii for virtual reality sessions and another group that practiced simple recreational activities, such as playing cards or dominoes. The study results showed that the type of task used in motor rehabilitation after a stroke may be less relevant, as long as it is sufficiently intense and task-specific and that simple, low-cost recreational activities that are widely available in the community can be as effective as innovative, non-invasive virtual reality technologies.


The article, Recreational or play therapy (CEPTA), describes how mental health professionals are observing how important play is to a person’s health and happiness. The article continues by discussing how therapists use recreational therapy to help children express what is uncomfortable, when they don’t have the verbal language to express their thoughts and feelings. The article also describes recreational and play therapy, how they work, who benefits from these types of therapies, how families can participate, and who provides recreational or play therapy.


The article, The importance of visiting an audiologist (enSalud), discusses how hearing loss has increased over the years and how having hearing loss can have adverse effects on understanding speech, which negatively impacts the person socially, emotionally, and psychologically. The article also describes what an audiologist does, including evaluating, treating, and managing hearing loss and other auditory issues. The article ends by giving examples of signs of hearing loss.


The article, Clinical pharmacists: Professionals essential to the clinical assistance team (Las Condes, Clinical Medicine Journal), discusses how clinical pharmacists are especially qualified to provide direct care and to manage pharmaceutical treatments. This article defines the tem clinical pharmacy and reviews the training standards, expected competences, and contributions of clinical pharmacists.

Social Work:

The article, The 10 functions of social workers: A review of the main roles and functions of the social worker (Psicología y Mente), provides a brief history and description of social work and provides a list of some of the functions of a social worker. Some of these functions include providing direct care to individuals or groups, supporting social inclusion, providing interventions, and evaluating the results of the interventions provided. The article also discusses the results of a study that looked at what social workers thought were their primary functions as social workers.


  • MedlinePlus has information on different health professions (English), including anesthesiologist assistants, dental hygienists, emergency medical technicians, and more in English and Spanish. They also include links to statistics and research, journal articles, and information on finding an expert.
  • The Peer Leadership Center (English) defines what a peer specialist (English) is and provides information on requirements and on maintaining certification. They also provide information on the different peer provider roles, information on the job, job opportunities, information on the evidence for peer support (English), and information on training that includes state requirements, an event calendar and continuing education.
  • The Occupational Outlook Handbook (English) from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (English) provides information on respiratory therapists (English), including some quick facts. They also describe what respiratory therapists do, their work environment, and how to become a respiratory therapist.

Further Research:




About Answered Questions

Each month, we look through the searches on our blog and through the information requests made by our patrons who speak Spanish and pick a topic that fills the largest need. Each resource mentioned above is associated with this month’s information need. We search the various Spanish language news sources and feeds throughout the month to bring you these articles. With the exception of the NIDILRR Projects, From the NARIC Collection, and Further Investigation, all the linked articles and resources are in Spanish – any that are in English will be clearly marked.

About mpgarcia

I'm the Bilingual Information/Media Specialist at NARIC.
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