Scenario: Ruth is a 24-year-old woman who, due to a tragic car accident at the age of 9, is now paralyzed from the waist down and is in a wheelchair. She graduated from Liberty University with her bachelor’s degree in psychology and now lives in Baltimore, Maryland with her close friend as a roommate. Ruth has been looking for a job in the area since they moved there 6 months ago, but has not yet had any luck finding a job. This is frustrating for her because she wants to be able to provide her side of the rent for the apartment, but without a job, her roommate has had to contribute to the rent, food, utilities, etc. Due to her situation, Ruth finds she is discouraged, depressed, and feeling worthless. She comes to you for counseling.
As a counselor, how would you help Ruth with this challenge? As part of your assistance, would you offer vocational counseling also? In your initial conversation, Ruth discloses that she has encountered discrimination based on disability as two potential employers rejected her application for employment based strictly on her wheelchair status, stating that bringing her in as an employee would put an undue burden on their business in terms of special accommodation for her disability (e.g., parking, bathroom [stalls, sinks], ramps into the building). How would you address this disclosure?
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