Rehabilitation Initial Diagnosis and Assessment for Clients (RIDAC) 

RIDAC is a diagnostic screening and assessment program available to persons who have made application for services to Arkansas Rehabilitation Services, often as part of process for establishing eligibility. Evaluation though RIDAC is initiated by the counselor, who may wish to obtain more information regarding an applicant’s eligibility; intellectual, educational, mental health, or physical limitations; vocational interest patterns; the feasibility of the desired educational/training program; or the possible need for more in-depth evaluation. Although referrals from counselors typically come prior to the establishment of eligibility, counselor referrals can be made at any time the counselor has any question about an existing client’s abilities, limitations, or vocational goals.

Applicants are initially evaluated in a group setting (usually 8 to 12 depending on the physical limitations of site where evaluation is being conducted) for the basic screening evaluation. Further individualized evaluations, including vocational interest inventories are conducted by staff as needed, based upon the results of the initial screening or as requested by the counselor. All applicants undergo an individual interview after the testing is completed, which may include a mental health assessment, if indicated. A medical screening evaluation or review of available medical records is conducted by one of the RIDAC physicians. The majority of the evaluations consist of the above procedures only. Some applicants present a more complex picture and a recommendation may be made to the counselor for more in depth evaluation. RIDAC staff may do this further evaluation at a later time, or the applicant may be referred to LEC for further evaluation. Special arrangements may be required for applicants who have more serious medical, intellectual, or sensory problems, and these are provided by counselors and RIDAC staff. 

Reports of the results of the evaluations are provided to counselors, typically in less than 10 days after the evaluation date. These reports will generally describe strengths and weaknesses (areas of strong ability and functional limitations), vocational limitations, as well as applicable mental health, educational, and medical diagnoses. In cases where more comprehensive evaluations have been done, the reports are likely to cover more areas of ability and limitation.

RIDAC staff is comprised of 9 psychological examiners, 2 physicians, 1 psychologist, 1 program manager/ psychologist, and 1 administrative assistant. These staff members are housed in 6 locations in central and northwest Arkansas and travel to 28 field locations throughout the state to conduct evaluations on a regularly scheduled basis, and occasionally by special request. A number of staff also do record reviews for locations where it is not feasible to travel in order to help counselors determine eligibility and most appropriate programming.

Nicholaus Paal, Ph.D. is the program manager and Sally Brigance is the administrative assistant. RIDAC can be contacted by mail at 26 Corporate Hill Drive in Little Rock; by phone at 501-686-2812; or by e-mail nicholaus.paal@arkansas.gov or carmenlita.bryant@arkansas.gov.